Shropshire Star

Shrewsbury parkrunners don Charles Darwin masks to kick off festival celebrating town's famous son

Parkrunners have lent their support to Shrewsbury's Darwin Festival which is held each year in honour of the town's most famous son.

Parkrunners wearing Charles Darwin masks to celebrate the start of the festival

The DarwIN Shrewsbury Festival is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, with events running from Sunday, February 5, to February 12 – Charles Darwin’s birthday.

A wide variety of lectures, talks and guided tours will be on offer during the festival, including the rare opportunity to visit Darwin’s Garden – the ‘thinking path’ toured by Darwin every morning which played a major role in the formation of his thoughts on evolution.

Parkrunners wearing Charles Darwin masks to celebrate the start of the festival

On Saturday morning, runners at the Shrewsbury parkrun 5k donned Darwin masks as has been the tradition over the past few years to celebrate the start of the festival, and organiser John Hughes shared information about upcoming events to help spread the word.

Mr Hughes, the Darwin House Museum project manager at Shropshire Council, said: “It was great to get the support of Shrewsbury parkrun to help launch the festival, and I would like to thank the organisers for allowing me to attend.

“We are delighted with this year’s programme, which features more than 30 events to inspire and encourage wider thinking about the legacy of Shrewsbury’s most famous son.”

Central to the festival is an exhibition at Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery which runs until March 26, called Charles Darwin in Shrewsbury - the Making of a Marvellous Mind.

Other festival highlights include an afternoon discovering Charles Darwin’s Family - Vaughan Williams: The Man and His Music, on Sunday, February 5 in the drawing room in Darwin House featuring music by John Moore on piano and Alex Postlethwaite on violin.

Parkrunners wearing Charles Darwin masks to celebrate the start of the festival

On February 6, Shropshire Chamber of Commerce relaunches its 1835 Group supported by University Centre Shrewsbury, an event aimed at shaping the future of the Shropshire business landscape.

There will be an illustrated talk by Shrewsbury School’s Dr Robin Brooke-Smith on February 8 on Darwin entitled 'From Shrewsbury Schoolboy to International Scientific Superstar'.

Guided tours of Darwin’s Garden will be held on February 8 and 11 – on February 11 there is a guided tour of Darwin’s birthplace.

The Darwin Memorial Lecture will take place next Sunday, February 12 when Dr Jude Piesse, a lecturer in English literature at Liverpool’s John Moores University will examine Darwin’s family garden at The Mount and its impact on Darwin’s life, and work – experiences which were the catalyst for his world-changing discoveries.

A full programme of events can be found at