Visitors from across the world will be stopping off in Chorley as the borough joins a national programme to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the Mayflower voyage.
In 2020 it will be 400 years since the ship set sail with the Pilgrims to find land in America and one of the people on board is believed to have been born and lived in Chorley.
Myles Standish, who is linked to the Duxbury estate, with further ties to borough villages such as Croston and Mawdesley was a military adviser and help found the colonies.
Councillor Peter Wilson, Deputy Leader of Chorley Council, said: “We are very proud of Chorley’s links to its past and the opportunity to be a part of a programme that would put us on the map for international tourism is something we really wanted to be involved in.
“The national programme is very selective as to which towns and cities can join the project and Chorley is the only place in the North West to be taking part.
“The events and visitor destinations are being promoted heavily overseas and we want to make sure we get as many visitors as we can to come and visit Chorley.”
The move to join the national Mayflower 400 programme has been funded by Chorley Council but years of work have been put in by a group of volunteers who have formed a Mayflower 2020 committee.
This group has done lots of research and worked on a trail of the main sites in the borough that focus around Duxbury Park.
Lincoln Shields, chair of the Myles Standish 2020 Working Group, said: “Chorley has lots of interesting heritage and it is only right we put a lot of effort in to remember someone who is recognised both here in Chorley but also over in America.
“We’re working on a detailed events programme for the coming year with theatrical productions, concerts, guided tours and we’ll be involved in all the major events, such as Chorley Flower Show.”
The Mayflower 400 UK project is led by Plymouth but there are trails and activities across the country.
Charles Hackett, CEO of Mayflower 400, said: “We are delighted to welcome Chorley on board – not only does it gives us a location in the North West, the tale of Myles Standish is fascinating and brings another dimension to the Mayflower story.
“We expect a significant number of tourists to visit from America and we will be encouraging people to take in as many of the locations as they can while they are here.
“I’m sure there will be lots of interest from people planning day trips and short breaks in this country too so there are lots of opportunities to put Chorley on the map.”
The Mayflower 400 commemorations will be kicked off by a series of Illuminated events. There will be two hosted in Chorley with one at St Laurence’s Church on 9 November and Chorley’s Astley Illuminated taking place on Saturday 23 November.
People can find more information at www.mayflower400uk.org.