Trafalgar Night commemorates Admiral Lord Nelson's victory at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805. It also provides the backdrop for our Nelson students to attend a traditional and formal navy-style black tie dinner. The Battle of Trafalgar established British naval supremacy for more than 100 years and shattered Napoleon’s plans to invade England, so it has a huge significance to everything that the Royal Navy stands for. This year the dinner was held on 5th November.
The principal guest speaker was Commodore (Dr) Don Mackinnon OBE RN who spoke inspirationally to our Nelsonites. He attended with his wife Samantha. Our other VIP guests were Commodore Rob Bellfield and his wife Zoe, Mr and Mrs Lockyer and Mr Mark Pendlington, our Chair of Governors.
The evening started with a spectacular firework display on the terrace (in the rain!). During pre-dinner drinks, guests were treated to a ceremonial mess beatings performed by the Corps of Drums, led by Nelson's own Charlie Reade, Head of Drums.
There was a spectacular fine dining three course meal, prepared by our very own catering team and served silver service style by some year 12 students, and wine flowed!
The National Anthem was played and a sea shanty group from Felixstowe 'the motley crew' brilliantly entertained the guests after the meal.
Then followed a sunset ceremony, including two Blake students (year 12) (who have shown particular promise since starting here) lowering the flag to the bugle call 'sunset', flawlessly played by Ed Reade.
One of Nelson's Heads of House, Luca Baretton, articulately introduced the guest speaker, who gave a speech where the focus was on being good and surrounding yourself with good people. It had depth and warmth, and the entire room was silent and transfixed throughout. Then Nelson's other Head of House, Nicole Stovell, gave an impassioned thank you to him and others for a wonderful evening.
A success all round
For his motto, Nelson took the suggestion of Lord Grenville and chose a line from a verse called ‘An Ode to the Winds’ published by Dr Jortin. The Latin line reads ‘Palmam pal Merult Ferat’ which translates to ‘Let him who has earned it bear the Palm’. Horatio Nelson had certainly earned it.