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Donington Party in the Park to celebrate homecoming of explorer Matthew Flinders features documentary On The Trail of Flinders and petition for posthumous Fellow of the Royal Society





A famous explorer whose body will be brought home and reburied this weekend is the focus of a new documentary — and a growing campaign that has gathered momentum.

Captain Matthew Flinders was the first person to circumnavigate Australia and on Saturday (July 13) a three-day celebratory event is planned for his re-interment at the St Mary and Holy Rood Church in Donington, where he was born in 1774.

Flinders’ coffin was discovered by archaeologists working on the HS2 project. It was buried in London in 1814 and uncovered during excavations of a burial site near Euston Station in 2019, sparking huge interest across the globe.

Matthew Flinders Party in the Park is being planned to provide a day of fun and entertainment for villagers and visitors
Matthew Flinders Party in the Park is being planned to provide a day of fun and entertainment for villagers and visitors

Screenwriter Tim Purcell has created a documentary On The Trail of Flinders which will be screened as part of the celebrations and has gained further signatories in his quest to make the late explorer a posthumous Fellow of the Royal Society.

Mr Purcell said: “We have prioritised the documentary, which focuses on Matthew Flinders' almost seven year incarceration in Mauritius that I contend was to cost him his career, his reputation and ultimately his life.

“We currently have 636 signatures for the petition to the Royal Society to have him awarded an Honorary Fellowship in recognition of his scientific achievements which are still a legal requirement under international marine regulations and SOLAS (Safety of Lives at Sea).

Screenwriter Tim Purcell has created a documentary On The Trail of Flinders which will be shown as art of the celebrations
Screenwriter Tim Purcell has created a documentary On The Trail of Flinders which will be shown as art of the celebrations

“This has the written support of many academics, institutions and royal societies from the UK, Australia and Mauritius, many of whom will also be present in Donington.”

He added that if there was to be a representative of the Royal Society at the celebrations it may be an opportunity to present it and to add more signatures.

Mr Purcell is also planning a longer documentary on Flinders which will be presented by Sir Tony Robinson once they have raised additional finance.

Statue of Matthew Flinders, Donington
Statue of Matthew Flinders, Donington

He said: “After that we will revert to our original ambition to produce a feature film, Flinders - Uncharted Waters, to be directed by the award winning Australian director, Nadia Tass.

The trailer for On The Trail of Flinders will be posted onto Facebook, Vimeo and dedicated YouTube Channels.

A party in the park is being organised for villagers to celebrate the homecoming of the famous explorer as people will travel from across the globe to watch navigator Matthew Flinders be buried within St Mary and the Holy Rood Church on Saturday, July 13.

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