Grand celebrations for Nelson's birthday

Less than three years after Nelson Fever gripped the country to mark the bicentenary of Trafalgar, the quiet village of Burnham Thorpe finds itself at the centre of the national celebrations this weekend.

Less than three years after Nelson Fever gripped the country to mark the bicentenary of Trafalgar, the quiet village of Burnham Thorpe finds itself at the centre of the national celebrations this weekend.

As reported in last week's Times, a whole weekend of celebratory events has been organised to mark the 250th anniversary of the birth of Admiral Lord Nelson.

Descendants and dignitaries will be in the village for the events which begin tomorrow and continue until Monday.

Burnham Thorpe is where Horatio Nelson was born on 29 September 1758. He grew up their before going to sea at the age of 12. His father was the rector of All Saints' Church and Nelson was christened there.


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The centrepiece of the Nelson 250 celebrations is a service of thanksgiving for Nelson's life at All Saints' Church on Sunday. The preacher is the Very Rev Graham Smith, dean of Norwich Cathedral.

Those participating officially include Mr Richard Jewson, the Lord Lieutenant for Norfolk representing HM The Queen; Admiral Sir Mark Stanhope, Commander in Chief Flee; the mayor and mayoress and the deputy mayor and mayoress of King's Lynn & West Norfolk with sword, mace and staff bearers.The Sea Cadet Corps is providing the Honour Guard.

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The direct descendants of Nelson who will be present are Pieter Vedel and his sister, Alexandra. They are related through Nelson's daughter Horatia who was five when Nelson died at Trafalgar. After the service, they will plant Nelson rose bushes in the churchyard to mark the occasion.

The 1805 Club, a charity conserving the monuments of Georgian naval heroes, initiated the celebrations and created the Nelson 250 logo. Other key events over the weekend include a civic dinner in King's Lynn, a Nelson birthday concert at All Saints' Church and an exhibition of Nelson paintings, rare books and manuscripts which will be opened by The 1805 Club chairman, Peter Warwick.

Peter Warwick said, “The nation commemorated Trafalgar, Nelson's most famous battle, in 2005. Yet he continues to hold people's attention, as the enthusiasm for this birthday anniversary shows. Nelson 250 allows us to celebrate his extraordinary life rather than commemorate his battles. We can highlight the importance of his childhood and formative years. These national celebrations also bring spirit of place since it is here in Norfolk that the remarkable story of Britain's greatest naval hero begins”.

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