A FESTIVAL lit up the night sky to celebrate the Pilgrims’ journey to America.

A torch-lit parade took place through the streets of Harwich with giant torches in the shape of the Mayflower ship and its Harwich-born captain, Christopher Jones.

The Illuminate festival, run by the Harwich Festival on behalf of Tendring Council, saw about 100-people take part in the parade last Friday, with more watching on.

The event is held every year, a day after Thanksgiving, to celebrate the voyage the Pilgrim Fathers’ took in 1620 from the UK to the New World.

This year key landmarks, including Captain Jones’ house and the High and Low Lighthouses, were also lit up and there were musical performances on The Green afterwards.

Schoolchildren were also involved, having taken part in a workshop in the week leading up to the event to make their own lanterns.

Michael Offord, general manager of the Harwich Festival, said it was a great event - with even more planned for next year when the Illuminate Festival will kick-start a year-long celebration of the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower’s sailing. He added: “It was fantastic to see so many people taking part this year and really lighting up Harwich.”