A traditional toast was raised to Morpeth’s own hero of Trafalgar yesterday.
Wreaths were laid at Morpeth Town Hall in memory of Vice-Admiral Lord Collingwood, the Morpeth resident who led the British fleet to victory at the famous sea battle on October 21, 1805.
Following the Trafalgar Day ceremony, civic leaders and members of the Collingwood Society joined members of the public and pupils from St Robert’s RC First School at the admiral’s former home, Collingwood House, in Oldgate, where Father Peter Stott read a prayer for the Royal Navy and a toast was made to the town’s famous son.
The Mayor of Morpeth, Alison Byard, told the crowds: “To us here now, gathered in Morpeth, gathered on Northumbrian soil, on the doorstep of his beloved home, he is one of our own – a local lad who did our region proud by his achievements and his example and for that too, he deserves our acknowedgement.
“Collingwood’s commitment to the Royal Navy’s supremacy didn’t stop in battle. When back home, Collingwood planted acorns at every opportunity to boost future stock of timer for British ships.
He knew that it took 2,000 to 3,000 oaks to build a ship like the Victory.
“On this day too, we remember the greatest naval battle in our history, one which had a significant and lasting impact on European politics – the Battle of Trafalgar.
“Inevitably, the name of Vice-Admiral Horatio Nelson is widely commemorated this day but we should recall that it was Collingwood’s ship, HMS Royal Sovereign, that first broke the Spanish line and that it was Vice-Admiral Cuthbert Collingwood who oversaw the final victory.”