On Saturday 21st October 2017, the 212th anniversary of the Royal Navy’s greatest battles in history, Huntingdon & District Branch celebrated their annual Trafalgar Night Dinner at the Black Bull in Godmanchester.
Guests of honour were the Mayor and Mayoress of Huntingdon, Councillor Jay Dyne and Councillor Sonia Dyne, and two Founder members of the Branch, shipmates Dave Rowland and Christine Williams. Other VIPs and guests included the RNA National Chairman, shipmate Keith Ridley (with S/M Maureen Ridley), our Branch Padre, Reverend Andrew Milton, members of St Neots Branch RNA, the RBL, RAFA, Wheelers, Sea Cadet Corps, and of course, members of Huntingdon & District Branch with their family and friends.
The Branch President, shipmate Karl Webb, began the night by welcoming all guests to the Black Bull before shipmate Catherine Fearon piped ‘Hands to Dinner’. After the Silent Tribute, Reverend Andrew Milton said Grace and then everyone took their seats ready for the first course.
After enjoying the food and company, it was time for the Hon. Treasurer, shipmate Pete Aston, to thank the catering team for an excellent meal.
Pete also called up Simon the chef, it was his last meal as Head Chef at the Black Bull. The Branch presented him with an RNA apron as a thank you.
The next presentation was in memory of two Founder Members, shipmates Ben Dear and Sybil Rowland. A memorial tree in Jutland Wood bears their names as a thank you from the Branch. Receiving the certificates were shipmates Rose Dear and Dave Rowland.
In June, Huntingdon & District Branch teamed up with St Neots & District Branch with a charity stall at the Fly Navy Event at Shuttleworth. The combined donation to the Fly Navy Trust was carried out by shipmates Karl Webb, President of Huntingdon Branch, and Mike Milne, Chairman of St Neots Branch. The donation was received by the Mayor and Mayoress of Huntingdon, Cllrs Jay and Sonia Dyne, on behalf of the Trust.
As a thank you for attending the dinner, the Mayor and Mayoress were also presented with a Branch shield by shipmate Pete Aston.
Finally, shipmate Pete Aston was shocked to find that there was one more presentation, a thank you from the President for all the work he has done throughout the year. A certificate of appreciation, but more important, a personalised bottle of Rum (complete with rum of course). BZ Pete, well deserved.
With the presentations out of the way, it was time for the tot issue in preparation for the Loyal Toast and the Toast to the Immortal Memory. Shipmate Nino Crean was Rum Bosun and ensured that everyone had received their tot.
The Branch Chairman gave the Loyal Toast, and then the Branch President followed this with the Toast to the Immortal Memory.
After the toasts, the evening continued with a history lesson from the Branch Committee. Research of those who took part in the Battle of Trafalgar gave an insight of the life and fears onboard each of Nelson’s ships whilst engaging with the enemy. Those personnel names were in all likelihood related to at least one member taking part in the evening’s meal. A roll of honour was also read out, bringing home the reality of war as each named had the surname of shipmates and guests in the room.
The last part of the evening was the raffle. Shipmate Graham Murray started the raffle off.
There were plenty of prizes and most people managed to win something on the night.
As the evening drew to a close, VIPS, shipmates and their guests were in full agreement that the evening had been a great success. Thank you to all that took part, we look forward to next year.
To view more photos from the Trafalgar Night Dinner (click on the first (or any) image and use the scroll bars to view):