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Lord Collingwood honoured in Menorca by planting trees
A portrait of Lord Admiral Collingwood
Lord Admiral Collingwood spent the last years before his death in Menorca

Celebrations of the 200th anniversary of the death of Lord Admiral Collingwood are going international.

Three oak tree saplings are being planted during a weekend of commemorative events in Menorca - where Collingwood spent his final years.

The trees are a gift to the island as part of the Collingwood 2010 Festival, a year-long celebration of the Admiral's life.

They have been donated by Corbridge-based Trees Please nursery.

Born in Newcastle in 1748, Collingwood went to sea at 13 and went on to have a naval career spanning four decades.

He is most famous for his role in the battle of Trafalgar in 1805 where he was Nelson's second-in-command. As Nelson lay mortally wounded it was Collingwood who directed the fleet to victory.

Special link

Following Trafalgar he expected to retire after a lifetime at sea. However with the Admiralty short of senior commanders, he was sent to Menorca to take charge of the British Mediterranean Fleet.

Oak tree
Lord Collingwood would drop acorns on the bans of the River Wansbeck

That was where he spent the last years of his life. When he became very ill and dying he was carried to his ship to make his way to England.

He died on board still within Menorcan waters on 7 March 1810.

Oaks have a special link to Collingwood - when he was alive, England's wooden warships were the best in the world.

He believed that to build enough new ships and maintain England's position as top international sea-power, hundreds of thousands more trees would be needed.

Living memorial

He took every opportunity to plant acorns - he would walk about with handfuls of acorns, treading them into the earth along the banks of the river Wansbeck near his home in Morpeth.

It is entirely possible that these specimens are descended from acorns planted by Collingwood himself
Charles Beaumont

The trees going to Menorca this week are native English oaks - Quercus robur - the same type of acorns that Collingwood would have planted.

Trees Please Director (who are providing the saplings) Charles Beaumont said: "We collect our seeds locally so it is entirely possible that these specimens are descended from acorns planted by Collingwood himself!"

Captain Stephen Healy, Chairman of the Collingwood 2010 Festival Committee, added: "The trees will be planted at Port Mahon and will provide a poignant, living memorial to this great figure.

"They will also establish a lasting link between the north-east of England and Menorca."

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