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Last Updated: Wednesday, 29 September, 2004, 12:34 GMT 13:34 UK
'Nelson' launches Trafalgar plans
Replica of HMS Pickle sailing through London
An actor playing Nelson sailed the Thames on a replica of HMS Pickle
Details of events to mark the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Trafalgar have been announced on what would have been Lord Nelson's 246th birthday.

An actor playing the admiral has sailed along the Thames to Somerset House in London to unveil the programme - to the sound of 13-gun salute by HMS Belfast.

Next year's celebrations begin in June when 40 nations join the International Fleet Review in Portsmouth.

The celebrations will culminate in the Trafalgar Weekend, on 21 to 23 October.

A service will be held at St Paul's Cathedral commemorating Nelson, who died in the battle, and there will also be a musical celebration at the Royal Albert Hall and festivities in Trafalgar Square.

Other projects taking place during the year include an educational tour of British ports by a replica of HM Schooner Pickle, which originally carried the news of Nelson's death back to Britain.

Events planned for the bicentenary will provide opportunities for everybody to learn more about an enduring hero
Official Nelson Commemorations Committee chairman Colin White

Meanwhile, the Woodland Trust will organise the planting of 27 copses throughout Britain, each named after one of the British ships from the Battle of Trafalgar.

The Trafalgar Festival has been co-ordinated by the Official Nelson Commemorations Committee, under the auspices of SeaBritain 2005.

SeaBritain 2005 represents bodies including the National Maritime Museum, VisitBritain, National Trust and Royal Yachting Association, with the support of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.

Committee chairman Colin White, said: "The range and diversity of events marking the bicentenary reminds us of the great significance of Trafalgar as a defining moment in Britain's history, as well as the leadership, heroism and courage demonstrated by Nelson and his captains.

Naval actions

"Public interest in the story of Nelson is high and the events planned for the bicentenary will provide opportunities for everybody to learn more about an enduring hero," he said.

The Battle of Trafalgar is thought of as one of the most decisive naval actions in British history as it established Britain's supremacy at sea and freed the country from the long-held fear of invasion from Napoleon's armies.

The battle off Cape Trafalgar, near Cadiz in southern Spain, pitched the Royal Navy against the combined fleets of France and Spain.

Nelson died after he was shot by a French marksman on the Redoubtable as he stood on the quarterdeck of HMS Victory.

Trafalgar celebrations announced
09 Aug 04  |  England
Battle of Trafalgar remembered
21 Oct 03  |  Hampshire/Dorset


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