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The journey made in 1620 by The Pilgrims to the ‘New World’ in America is one of the most pivotal moments of the last 500 years and made Southampton known on a global scale.  And the 400th anniversary commemorations for 2020 have been given a major boost with headline sponsorship in Southampton from leading regional law firm Paris Smith LLP.

The firm, which is currently celebrating its 200th anniversary and has landmark offices in Southampton and Winchester, is a keen supporter of the arts, local producers and community events.  It’s well known for its long standing relationship with the arts, demonstrated by what is considered one of the longest running art and business sponsorships in the UK with The Mayflower Theatre, which is now in its 30th year.

The landmark deal sees the firm commit support over three years and will help deliver a programme of activity for the city during 2020 that will attract and entertain international visitors and well as locals.

The Mayflower 400 UK national visitor project promises a year long programme of events aiming to attract the descendants and other ancestral tourists to visit England and be a part of the anniversary year.  The calendar in Southampton will highlight the city’s unique culture and heritage offering, and hopes for a significant increase in visitors particularly from the United States – many of whom were descended from those who sailed from Southampton.

Commenting on the announcement Paris Smith Senior Partner, Nick Vaughan said: “We thought we had reached a milestone having been based in Southampton for 200 years but turn the clock back a further 200 years and you have a momentous event in history.  We are delighted to be sponsoring this truly global event and to celebrate the part played by Southampton.”

Project manager Jim Zalles of the Southampton Cultural Development Trust said: “The Mayflower 400 commemorations will be a transformational event for Southampton, and we’re thrilled that Paris Smith is supporting us on this journey. I’m an American, a project manager and theatre producer who read English History at university, so I’m delighted to be leading this project for the city. During 2020, we will be staging world class events and a cultural programme the city and its residents will be proud of.”

Mayflower 400 National Visitor Project Manager, Emma Tatlow said: “This is an international event to mark the 400th anniversary of the historic voyage and will bring together 11 UK destinations, each with their own connection to the story, alongside the United States of America, the Native American Community and the Netherlands for the first time.  The commemoration will seek to unite the Southampton community and surrounding areas, inspire creativity, drive economic growth, enhance the visitor experience and promote understanding and education of this pivotal moment in history.”

Brad Roynon Chair of Southampton Cultural Development Trust said: “This is another great example of how Southampton is delivering world class experiences for its residents and visitors from across the globe. Southampton Cultural Development Trust is proud to be supporting the development of this exciting programme and is pleased to have been able to help bring such an influential and powerful business to the table as a sponsor. It’s exactly what the Mayflower 400 celebration and this city needs and we salute the ambition of the organisation and team at Paris Smith which recognises the opportunity to make something great happen through collaboration.”  

The core programme for Mayflower 400 Southampton is currently being developed with partners across the city. The programme is scheduled to be launched later this year alongside opportunities for community and other groups to get involved and to run their own activities to celebrate.

Pictured (left to right): Project Manager at Southampton Cultural Development Trust Jim Zalles, Head of Marketing at Paris Smith Helen Freeston, Senior Partner at Paris Smith Nick Vaughan

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