Burnham-On-Sea, Somerset

October 21, 2005
Burnham-On-Sea celebrates 200th anniversary of Battle of Trafalgar

MP David Heathcoat-Amory at the unveiling of the plaque with Cllr Neville Jones and Deputy Mayor Cllr Dennis Davey

Burnham-On-Sea marked the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Trafalgar on Friday October 21st with the unveiling of a new seafront plaque and a special lunch for the leaders of groups across the town.

Rev'd Graham Witts with Cllr Neville JonesMP David Heathcoat-Amory is shown above at the unveiling of the plaque at Marine Cove along with Cllr Neville Jones and Deputy Mayor Cllr Dennis Davey. A crowd of around 150 residents gathered on the seafront for the event.

Burnham and Highbridge's town band played in the gardens before the ceremony, which was started by the firing of a single maroon from the top of St Andrew's Church at mid-day. The Mayor's Chaplain, Rev'd Graham Witts, pictured above, recited Nelson's famous prayer written in the cabin on board HMS Victory during the battle.

A lunch followed for approximately 60 invited representatives of various organisations in the town at the Old Courthouse in Jaycroft Road, shown below, which was specially decorated for the occasion.

The Council Chamber was decorated for the occasionAmong several toasts relative to the occasion was the significant "Immortal Memory", read by the Rt Hon David Heathcoat-Amory MP, an ancestor of whom was a captain under Nelson at Trafalgar.

A white ensign was presented to the Council by Cllr Jones, who is Chairman of the HMS Burnham Association (see below). This was then dedicated by the Rt Rev'd Bishop Peter Ball and will be draped in the Council Chamber.

Cllr Jones, who is Chairman of the HMS Burnham Association, presents Cllr Davey with the white ensignThe Rev'd Ted Ayerst recited Nelson's famous prayer before the Battle Of Trafalgar.

And, later, the deputy Mayor read a number of messages received, including one from the Chairman of Burnham Thorpe Parish Council. Burnham Thorpe is the small Norfolk community where Nelson was born at the local rectory.

A case of sailors' knots typical of the Nelson era was presented to the Council by Mr David Pusill, a member of the West Country Knot Tyers' Association.

And a commemorative cake featuring the image of the seafront plaque, which had been given by past Mayoress Cllr Pat Burge, was ceremonially cut with a sword.

This was followed by Mrs Shirley Smith, wife of Burnham-On-Sea Town Crier Fred Smith, singing 'Rule Britannia', pictured below, with the audience joining in the chorus with gusto!

Mrs Shirley Smith, wife of Burnham-On-Sea Town Crier Mr Fred Smith, singing 'Rule Brittania'Mr Kerry Rickards, Chief Executive of Sedgemoor District Council, addressed the audience following an entertaining speech from Cllr Jones explaining Burnham's link with Trafalagar and running over the modern day comparisons between then and now. Previous Mayor Cllr Hilary Rose also paid a tribute to absent friends.

Rev'd Ted Ayerst with Lieutenant Di Fulcher, formerly of the Burnham Sea CadetsNone of Burnham's celebrations were paid for from the public purse as the HMS Burnham Association agreed to fund the plaque and present a white ensign for the Council Chamber. Cllr Davey and Mayor Eric Gill, who was unable to attend the event, provided the catering.

Later in the evening, shortly before 7.30pm, a beacon was lit on top of Brent Knoll as part of a national chain of beacons. Despite heavy rain and wind, the glow from the fire could be seen across Burnham.

The anniversary commemorated the UK's most celebrated naval victory, which on 21st October 1805 scuppered Napoleon’s plans to invade Britain.

RELATED LINKS:

Brent Knoll beacon to be lit on Trafalgar Day

Trafalgar Weekend Official Web site

 



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