Schools step on board to learn about Mayflower ship

A theatre company has got 40 primary schools on board with its special project celebrating the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower’s voyage.

The Grand Theatre of Lemmings, based in Manningtree, was awarded a grant from Essex County Council and National Lottery Heritage Fund to tour all of Tendring’s primary schools this year with an immersive theatrical production called Step On Board.

The project was designed to tell the story of Harwich captain Christopher Jones who sailed the Mayflower to America in 1620.

Harwich has strong links to the ship and Jones’ house still stands in the town to this day.

The Grand Theatre of Lemmings is an organisation which works with young people to help them celebrate their heritage.

Before the pandemic the company piloted Step on Board to eight schools, which was enjoyed by Key Stage 2 children.

The children were welcomed aboard a boat structure in the school ground by the actors and activities started with everyone getting dressed up in period costume from 1620. During the course of the morning they tried their hands at writing with quills, making ships biscuits, knot tying and learning how a compass works.

After lunch they all went below deck to hear the story of Christopher Jones.

To round off the day the youngsters learnt how rope is made from plants such as stinging nettles, and the afternoon ended with a live demonstration of making rope.

When Covid-19 put a halt to any chance of the company visiting schools this year, the actors put their heads together and came up with the idea of delivering the same information to the schools using film.

After weeks of work they came up with three films and a living history folder of activities which will be delivered to all the primary schools in the district to coincide with the Mayflower’s anniversary.

Mandy Rose, artistic director of the theatre, said: “It’s been so much fun putting this together for the children of Tendring.

“It’s hard for us to go from receiving audience feedback in the moment to waiting to hear what everyone thought but we’re getting so much positive feedback, it makes it worth the wait.”

To find out more, visit

Shop Safe in Tendring this Christmas

Christmas shopping will be somewhat different in Tendring this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Just as businesses were gearing up for their busiest time, a second lockdown was announced at the beginning of November.

As part of Tendring Council’s priority to support local businesses, a Facebook page was set up in October and the campaign ‘Shop Safe in Tendring this Christmas’ was launched.

Two virtual shopping events were set up for November 18 and 21 where local businesses could promote their products and services to potential customers, all from the comfort and safety of their own home.

It is hoped the tough national measures will be lifted at the beginning of December, however the council still wants to provide a safe way for residents to reach out to local businesses.

To do so, an innovative Facebook Live event has been organised for Tuesday, December 1, at 6pm.

Local businesses are encouraged to take part in the event by contacting the council ahead of the event to book their slot.

Residents can join the hour-long event to support their local businesses and do their Christmas window shopping whilst avoiding the crowds.

Mary Newton, cabinet member for business and economic growth, said: “We have seen an increase in people wanting to support their local community and shops, but it has been extremely difficult for people to do that as non-essential shops have been closed.

“We hope this live event will help and would love to see as many people as possible join the event to support their towns.

“The event is not there to replace traditional shopping because we would love to see our high streets thriving again, but it just provides an alternative option at a time when it is crucial we avoid bustling crowds of people – and the event fits into our Back to Business agenda.

“There will be lots of different products on offer on the night and it really is a great opportunity to get wrapped up early for Christmas.”

Steve Tattam, from Winyl’s in Manningtree, added: “We have found the loss of our instore events, wine tasting and live music has been the biggest blow to us and our local customers.

“We are looking forward to taking part in the Facebook Live event because it is a great way for the community to come together to support each other, and to browse through gifts and products you wouldn’t normally find.

“We sell an ever-growing selection of vegan wine, beer, vinyl and associated gifts.”

If you are a business based in Tendring and you would like to take part in the event please contact Candice Robinson at

To join the event, go to 

Think you know Essex, then think again

Think you know Essex, then think again! Essex is full of surprises and hidden gems, not to mention its diverse people that are always there with a warm and friendly smile to welcome you.

Did you know that Rupert Grint, Dame Helen Mirren, Henri Chopin and Dick Turpin are all from Essex? It is home to a number of celebrity chefs, authors, artists, actors, and sports people. Whilst many of these people are in the public eye we have a whole county of people full of interesting and unique stories, for example, did you know the latest Nobel prize winner was from Colchester, the founder of Harvard university was from Essex and we have scientists that work with NASA? We also have stately homes that have been owned by the same families for generations, with fascinating stories, and local food producers providing food nationally and internationally.

Essex is known for its world- famous Colchester Oysters and Tiptree Jam, Chelmsford is the birthplace of radio, we have Britain’s oldest wooden church and the driest climate, and, you can still see the roman circus remains in Colchester. Many of the rich and famous have chosen Essex as their home, Cressing Temple was owned by the Knights Templar.

Essex is a wonderful place to live, study, work, invest and of course visit. The county includes the UK’s first town and newest city plus a plethora of historic and thriving towns and villages. Essex also boasts excellent universities, cutting-edge industry and stunning scenery all within an hour’s commute to the city of London. We’re proud to be from Essex and we want the rest of the world to know what a wonderful place Essex is too.

Many think of Essex as nightclubs and beauty salons and if that’s what you like we have plenty of them, but, did you know it is also a great place for quiet walks, a boat trip or paddle boarding on the river, seal watching, wine tasting at vineyards, spa breaks, cycling with the family, watching wildlife on island nature reserves or just enjoying a great meal out. It is so close to London but can feel a million miles away. No wonder it has become a popular filming location.

Come and Visit Essex, its extraordinary people and places it might just surprise you.
If you don’t believe us hear it from others.

‘An interesting insight into a county we think we already know from TV shows. A great opportunity to discover nature, different businesses, charming historic towns and villages and some incredible food, particularly at Mersea. Nice to see a different side to Essex!’
Laura Millar, Travel Editor, The Metro newspaper. (August ’20)

‘When I think of Essex, I think of the coast – traditional seaside resorts and fun on the pier – and the cities. But as one of the biggest counties in England, it shouldn’t be surprising that there’s far more to discover beyond the stereotypes, as I was reminded on a weekend. There’s far more to Essex than you might think…’
Cathy Winston, Travel Writer, Blogger, Mummytravels (October ’20)

We want to introduce you to some of the amazing people that help to make our county great.

For more information log on to

Shop Safe, Shop Early this Christmas

COVID19 has changed the way we live. Shopping is one aspect of that. Tendring District Council is extending its Shop Safe campaign, funded by the Government. The campaign has focused on shopping safely in Tendring, promoting all what the district has to offer, whilst reminding visitors, residents and shoppers to stay safe. Local businesses have been telling customers what measures they have put into place, such as sanitiser at the door, floor stickers to mark out safe distances and protective screens at the till points, all to keep people safe.

You can view some of the campaign videos on the Tendring District Council’s YouTube Channel

With the Government issuing new guidance which restricts more than six people meeting, it is important that we all make Christmas shopping as safe as it can, when traditionally it is a time when shops can get very busy.

To try to reduce large numbers of Christmas shoppers in the lead up to Christmas, Tendring District Council, alongside local businesses, will promote Christmas shopping early this year.

Tendring District Council has created a Facebook Group for businesses and shoppers. Businesses are encouraged to promote their products and shoppers have a chance to shop local in the comfort of their own.

Please join the Shop Safe at Christmas Facebook Group here: 

Olivia Reilly from Little Boat Gifts in Brightlingsea said, “We are a very small shop, and we are only allowed two households in the shop at one time, with restricted numbers. We are also a popular choice for people wanting Christmas gift ideas. So, we decided to open the shop after hours and are inviting people to book their individual timeslots to enable them to shop safely, and at their leisure. I support the Council promoting Shop Safe at Christmas because it gets people thinking about getting their Christmas shopping early and hopefully, we can avoid the Christmas rush, which could put people at risk.”

Councillor Mary Newton, Tendring District Council Cabinet Member for Business and Economic Growth, said that the Council wants to support businesses. “For many businesses Christmas is their busiest time, so we want to help support them and do it in a way to keep people safe. We would like to help people shop early for Christmas, to avoid a crowd within shops. We could all do with some festive cheer so it’s never too early for me to get organised.”

To find out more about Shop Safe please visit

Visit to find out more about booking an individual shopping slot.

Tendring keeps four Green Flags for its open spaces

Four open spaces in Tendring district have kept their prestigious Green Flag awards.

Cliff Park in Dovercourt, Crescent Gardens in Frinton, Weeley Crematorium Gardens and Clacton’s Seafront Gardens have all held on to the quality mark, awarded by Keep Britain Tidy.

Michael Talbot, Cabinet Member for Environment at Tendring District Council (TDC), said community support was at the heart of the open spaces’ success.

“This year, perhaps more than any other, we have as a community enjoyed our parks and open spaces as they have become a place to take our daily exercise at the height of lockdown and to meet friends in a safer, outdoor setting,” Councillor Talbot said.

“Our open spaces team work incredibly hard, hand-in-hand with local volunteers, to keep our green spaces so vibrant for residents and visitors alike to enjoy.

“With the limits placed upon us by Covid-19, and our particularly hot weather this year, that is no easy job, and I applaud their dedication which is recognised by the retaining of these four Green Flags.”

Clacton Seafront Gardens won its first Green Flag in 2009, with Frinton’s Crescent Gardens joining its ranks the following year. Weeley Crematorium’s grounds received a Green Flag in 2013, while Cliff Park was first awarded the flag in 2016.

Commenting on TDC’s success, Keep Britain Tidy Chief Executive Allison Ogden-Newton OBE said: “This year, more than ever, our parks and green spaces have been a lifeline and we know that millions of people have used them to relax, meet friends, exercise or simply escape for a short time.

“It is testament to the incredible dedication and hard work of parks staff and volunteers that, despite the challenges that went along with record numbers of visitors, TDC has achieved the highest international standards demanded by the Green Flag Award.”

The Green Flag Award scheme, managed by environmental charity Keep Britain Tidy under licence from the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government, recognises and rewards well-managed parks and green spaces, setting the benchmark standard for their management across the United Kingdom and around the world. More than 2,000 green spaces in the UK have been recognised this year.

Mayflower Trail installed around Historic Harwich

A visitor trail exploring Harwich’s links to the Mayflower ship, which transported early settlers to America, has opened to coincide with the 400th anniversary of the ship’s sailing.

The Mayflower Trail consists of information boards and directional signs around the historic town, detailing its links to the founding of modern America.

Wednesday, 16 September marked 400 years since the Pilgrims departed for what was then known as the New World, stepping off English soil for the last time at Plymouth for their voyage across the Atlantic aboard The Mayflower.

Carried aboard The Mayflower, the ship and several of its crew were from Harwich – including its Master Christopher Jones, whose house still stands in Kings Head Street today.

Harwich is joining several other towns and cities around the world, including Plymouth, which all have links to the Mayflower story, to commemorate the landmark anniversary with a series of special events.

Although the festivities have been delayed due to the impact of Covid-19, they are still planned to go ahead but some have either been altered or postponed.

In Harwich work has been completed to fit out Christopher Jones’ House – leased by Tendring District Council (TDC) – as a tourist attraction, and work has almost finished at the new Visitor Centre at Esplanade Hall. These are due open to the public in Spring 2021, subject to Covid-19 restrictions.

The Mayflower Trail, which has been funded with £45,000 sponsorship from the region’s rail operator Greater Anglia, has been installed to coincide with the 16 September anniversary.

Alex Porter, TDC Cabinet Member for Leisure and Tourism, encouraged people to enjoy the Mayflower Trail.
“Harwich’s links to The Mayflower are truly fascinating, and you can really learn a lot from the Trail,” Cllr Porter said.

“While the opening of attractions has had to be delayed to the global pandemic, you can start getting yourself steeped in history now by walking the Mayflower Trail and soaking up the atmosphere from Historic Harwich.

“We are very grateful to Greater Anglia for its support of this project, which will be in place for visitors and residents alike to enjoy for years to come.”

Jonathan Denby, Greater Anglia’s Head of Corporate Affairs, added: “The Mayflower story is all about journeys and as the region’s train operator that is something which resonates strongly with us.

“Harwich is easy to reach by train and travelling there by rail will help to reduce congestion and pollution in the town, making the events more enjoyable for both visitors and residents.”

The Mayflower Trail is around 1km long and has eight waypoints, starting from St Helen’s Green.

A special Harwich sign, also funded as part of the project, will be installed at Harwich Green in early 2021.

Exciting event programme on the cards for Tendring in 2021

In line with a draft tourism strategy going out for consultation.  Tendring District Council (TDC) confirmed today that the Illuminate Festival, scheduled for November to mark Historic Harwich’s links with The Mayflower, will be postponed until Spring of next year.

Taking place at a similar time in 2021 will be an event to mark the 150th anniversary of Clacton, which it is hoped will kick-start a year of celebrations.

The Clacton 150 event and the rescheduling of Illuminate were announced at TDC’s Cabinet meeting today (Friday, 11 September), where it was also revealed the Mayflower Trail in Harwich would be installed from next week – coinciding with 16 September, the date the Pilgrims set sail for the final time from Plymouth to what was then known as the New World.

Alex Porter, TDC Cabinet Member for Leisure and Tourism, said the events would kick-start the year.

“Last year’s Illuminate Festival was a roaring success, and this year was due to wrap-up a year of festivities as we celebrated 400 years since The Mayflower of Harwich took the Pilgrims to America,” Councillor Porter said.

“Of course Covid-19 has changed things somewhat, and instead many of the celebrations will now take place next year, subject to Coronavirus restrictions – including the Illuminate Festival, which although traditionally held around Thanksgiving will now re-launch the Mayflower 400 programme. With the current Covid-19 restrictions, it would not be possible to do it justice this year, but instead we hope to bookend 2021 with Illuminate Festivals.

“Next year we also have another anniversary to celebrate in our district, Clacton’s birthday, and we’re working with tourism partners in the town to look at how we mark the occasion.

“These proposals will complement a whole series of planned events, which could make 2021 a very special year indeed, and further details will follow over the coming weeks and months. Don’t forget you can keep up-to-date on events in the district through the Love Tendring app.”

Also discussed at Cabinet today was a draft Tourism Strategy for the district. Covering the next five years, the strategy sets out an ambition to increase the number of jobs associated with the sector, improve the district’s profile, work more with tourism business partners and improve the quality of life of residents by doing so.

Councillor Porter added: “More detail will come in the Delivery Plan which will follow on once the Tourism Strategy is adopted, but it is exciting to see us having a real focus on what is an incredibly important part of our economy.

“One of the key aspects is to recognise the unique nature and selling points of all our towns and villages. We are blessed with unspoilt coastline, family attractions, heritage of international importance, stunning countryside and some of the best events in the country.

“We obviously need to recognise the challenges our businesses face, operating throughout a pandemic, and so one of the key focusses of the first year’s delivery plan will be to provide ‘back to business’ support to re-iginite our economy – such as through these two Spring events.”

The draft strategy was agreed by Cabinet, and will now go out for a six-week consultation.

Eat Out to Help Out Scheme

From 3 to 31 August, get a 50% discount when you eat in at restaurants that are registered with the Eat Out to Help Out Scheme.

Get a 50% discount on food or non-alcoholic drinks to eat or drink in (up to a maximum of £10 discount per diner) every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday between 3 and 31 August as many times as you like.

You do not need a voucher to use this scheme and you can use it at the same time as other offers and discounts. There is no minimum spend.

You cannot claim discount on alcoholic drinks or service charges.

The discount will be automatically available to you at participating establishments. Establishments will then claim a reimbursement from the government for the discount they’ve given you.

Participating establishments may include:
restaurants, cafés, bars or pubs
work and school canteens
food halls

All diners in a group of any size can use the discount.

For more information and participating restaurants visit 

MiPermit cashless car park payments

Cashless Car Park Payments
Take the time and hassle out of paying for and extending your parking stays in the area by using MiPermit.

What is MiPermit?
is a cashless parking system which is already been used by over 2 million customers. For more information visit

What are the benefits?
Time – MiPermit removes the time and hassle of finding, queueing for and using cash/card machines in car parks.

Extend your Stay – You can extend your parking stays anytime, anywhere without having to return to your car park or worrying about receiving a Penalty Charge. The Extend Your Stay feature also cleverly selects the best value tariff for the whole of the existing and new stay combined.

Expiry Reminder – You can request a 20-minute text message reminder that your parking stay is due to expire, costing only 10 pence in car parks managed by us.

Exclusive Parking Offers – Access exclusive parking offers which are unavailable when paying by cash and card.

Map – The MiPermit App includes a map of where your car is parked – ideal if you’re visiting an area you’re unfamiliar with. For a full list of UK locations where MiPermit can be used, visit

Pay in advance – Pay for your parking either on arrival at a car park, or up to seven days in advance. Please note that paying in advance does not guarantee a parking space.