Extra special Trafalgar Night

THE Harrogate and District branch of the Royal Naval Association and the committee of the TS Cleopatra Harrogate Sea Cadet Corps held their annual Trafalgar Night Dinner at the White Hart Hotel, Harrogate.

This year was special as it was the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Trafalgar, fought off the Spanish Coast at Cadiz on October 21, 1805, which resulted in the British Fleet, commanded by Vice Admiral Lord Nelson, in HMS Victory, defeating the combined fleets of the French and Spanish navies. It also resulted in the untimely death of Nelson during the battle.

Guests at the dinner included the Mayor of Harrogate, Coun Caroline Bayliss, and her Consort, Mr Tom Bayliss.

Guest speaker was Commodore James Fanshawe, CBE, Royal Navy, and his wife Mrs Rosie Fanshawe. Commodore Fanshawe's link with Harrogate is that he was the last Captain of the Frigate, HMS Cleopatra, which was affiliated to Harrogate before it was sold to a foreign navy.

Harrogate RNA chairman, Shipmate John Rushton, welcomed the guests. Vice chairman, Shipmate Malcolm Sutcliffe, proposed the toast to "Absent Friends". Lt Cdr (SCC) Alan King MBE RNR Retd proposed the "Loyal Toast". Harrogate RNA president, Shipmate John Stray, proposed a toast "To The Guests". The Mayor proposed a toast to "Harrogate and District Royal Naval Association and TS Cleopatra Sea Cadet Corps". Harrogate RNA secretary, Shipmate Doug Pointon, proposed the toast to "The Immortal Memory" of Nelson.

Pre and after dinner Grace was said by Shipmate The Rev Colin Lenton, Padre to the Harrogate and District RNA.

At the end of the proceedings, a surprise awaited Shipmate Fred Thomson, as he was presented with Life Membership to the Royal Naval Association by Commodore Fanshawe. Mr Thomson has been the branch standard bearer for 27 years.

The RNA meets every first and third Wednesday of the month at the RAFA Club, East Parade, Harrogate. For more information on the RNA please contact Doug Pointon, secretary, on 01943 874471.