Captain Matthew Flinders - Explorer and Cartographer - born 16th March 1774 in Donington - the man who named Australia. The story of Matthew Flinders - son of Matthew Flinders - Surgeon, Apothecary and Man-Midwife of Donington in rural Lincolnshire - is well documented - accounts of his life and exploring is detailed on Wikipedia
When Matthew died in 1814, he was still living in London working with the Publishers of his great works A Voyage to Terra Australis. So his remains were buried in London. For many years, it was thought that their location was lost. However work by the HS2 team in preparation for the new High Speed Railway Project in early 2019 revealed the discovery of those remains - identifiable with a clearly marked lead breastplate on the coffin.
As soon as this find was publicised, people from Donington began the campaign to have him brought back to Donington as his final resting place. The Matthew Flinders Bring Him Home Group was established with this sole aim. The Group worked with Matthew's direct descendants, the Church Authorities at Lincoln, Sir John Hayes MP - who raised the issue in the House of Commons - and gained much support. The campaign has been successful - on 17th October 2019 the decision was announced that Matthew's mortal remains would return to Donington for reburial.
The Reburial: -
Plans are now in preparation for the reinterment which is likely to be in the North Aisle of the Church - see picture - adjacent to the Flinders Stained Glass Window. The preparation work will involve an archaeological survey of this part of the church; church permissions / Faculties; the design and creation of an appropriate Ledger Stone for on top of the grave to provide an appropriate and permanent tribute to this great man. Fund raising for all of this has started - please see the Make A Donation section to support these works and to ensure Matthew has a permanent and fitting memorial!
Photos are of Cigarette Cards from 1920s featuring Matthew Flinders. The House is a photo of the Flinders House at Donington ( no longer there ) as it would have been in Matthew's time.
Inevitably due to the Worldwide Corona Virus pandemic - all plans for Matthew's return to Donington - which we had hoped would be in July 2020 - have now been put on hold. It had been hoped to have multiple services to enable the maximum possible opportunities for the many people wanting to join us to be involved. Inevitably all of that is now postponed. We had anticipated that there would be a number of visitors joining us too including from Australia and New Zealand - so any future planning will have to allow for that to still happen in an appropriate way - without the need for self-isolating. Like everyone else - we can only hope that this dreadful disease will be conquered and that a normality will return - allowing everyday events and special occasions - as Matthew's reburial will eventually be - to take place without the need for social distancing - because the threat has diminished and normality has returned. If at all possible to achieve this we will recommence planning and would again try to aim for an appropriate date - possibly July 2021 - but until the 'World' returns to normal it isn't possible to provide anything more specific for now. We do continue to hope that eventually - whenever the reburial does take place - we will be able to FINALLY give this great explorer the proper remembrance that he so very much deserves.