“The longstanding traditional naval celebration dinner is held every year around the UK and elsewhere to commemorate the Battle of Trafalgar, when Rear Admiral Horatio Lord Nelson , K.B. commanding the British fleet defeated the combined fleets of France and Spain in 1805 off the coast of Cadiz.  In so doing, Nelson set the conditions for a British trading empire which altered the course of world history.   He also destroyed any ambition Napoleon Bonaparte held for the invasion of England, and, regaining control of the high seas, Britain was able alongside its oldest European ally Portugal to drive Napoleon´s armies out of Portugal and Spain – a decisive campaign helping to end the war in 1815. The ensuing Congress of Vienna which brought peace once again to Europe was the corner stone that allowed Italy and Germany to become nation states. It was the events of this time that led to Modern Europe and the European Union we know and enjoy today.

On Saturday 20th October forty people met at Holy Trinity Church parish rooms to enjoy a celebration dinner to commemorate the Battle of Trafalgar. It was the first time in living memory  the traditional nautical event was held at this venue, and had been booked and organised as a private event by David Atkinson and Pip Warner. The cost per head for the invited diners was €10 and all profits were donated equally between Holy Trinity Church and the Royal British Legion.

Trinity Rooms were decorated accordingly in a nautical theme with patriotic flags and portraits of Nelson himself;  and wine, beer and soft drinks were available throughout the evening in the adjoining Ranelow Room at a bar provided and run by church volunteers who also formally served the thoroughly enjoyed, excellent, three course meal consisting of  pate & toast, steak and ale pie with mushy peas, followed by plum pudding, all cooked by Pip herself.

There was a raffle and also a collection for the Poppy Appeal.

Unfortunately the Portuguese Navy Officer guest speaker who had planned to share some local maritime experiences was unable to attend at the last moment and Mr John Grant, a well known figure at Holy Trinity, and superintendent of the British Cemetery here in Funchal, along with David himself, stepped in to regale the diners with, often hilarious,  personal memories of their own military exploits somtimes in stark contrast to those of the British hero himself !

Important moments in the battle and the traditional toasts were followed throughout the evening which closed with a poignant rendition of bugle calls and patriotic music. Looks like this may become a permanent fixture in the social calendar of Holy Trinity. Many thanks to the Blandy family for their generous donation of Madeira wine, and to everyone who helped make this a joyously nostalgic and splendid occasion.

About holytrinitychurch

This is the official blog site for the Anglican Church of The Holy Trinity, and the historic British Cemetery situated in the heart of the city of Funchal, on the glorious, Portuguese island of Madeira. It is hoped that this blog will encourage dialogue, however, comments deemed to be blasphemous, offensive or personal will not be published.
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