Celebration pays tribute to national Naval hero

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FURTHER details have been released of a tribute to Morpeth Naval hero Admiral Lord Collingwood.

The Herald reported last week on plans to celebrate the achievements of the former Oldgate resident, who led the British fleet to victory at Trafalgar, when a bronze bust will officially be unveiled in Morpeth Town Hall next Thursday.

It is a replica of one commissioned by sculptor Helen Ridehalgh for the Menorca Britannia Association, which stands at Port Mahon in Menorca, where Collingwood was based at the end of his life.

The Greater Morpeth Development Trust (GMDT) launched a fund-raising drive for the Morpeth bust, which was supported by public donations, Morpeth Town Council, the Friends of Morpeth Museum and the Collingwood Society.

A day of free events is planned to mark the unveiling.

There will be a public service at St James the Great Church, conducted by the Rev Tony Curtis and Father Lawrence Jones, at 10.45am.

The Trumpet Team from the Band of Her Majesty’s Royal Marines Collingwood will sound a fanfare and HMS Collingwood will also supply a 12-man Guard of Honour.

The bust will then be unveiled at a private ceremony attended by Morpeth Mayor Mark Horton, Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Northumberland Captain Iain Moffat, Commodore Mike Mansergh from HMS Collingwood, members of Lord Collingwood’s family and representatives from Menorca.

Afterwards, the bust will be on public view and there will be three 20-minute illustrated talks in the Town Hall Corn Exchange.

Andy Griffin will discuss the Life of Lord Collingwood at 1.30pm, Dr Tony Barrow will talk about Collingwood’s Midshipmen at 2.15pm, and Captain Stephen Healy will present The Collingwood 2010 Festival at 3pm.

VoiceMale choir will sing songs from the sea at 1.55pm and 2.40pm, and Collingwood House in Oldgate will be open to the public from 1.30pm to 3.30pm.

Coun Horton said: “This is going to be a great event celebrating the life and achievements of one of the country’s great heroes.”

GMDT Director of Heritage Kim Bibby-Wilson added: “This is the latest project the trust has developed with the community and key partners to raise the profile of the diverse heritage that Morpeth has to offer and through the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund to enrich the understanding of residents and visitors over the past five years.”