Special service in Great Yarmouth to mark 200th anniversary of monument to Nelson

Trafalgar Day celebrations held at the Nelson Monument, Yarmouth.
East Norfolk Militia group.

Trafalgar Day celebrations held at the Nelson Monument, Yarmouth. East Norfolk Militia group. - Credit: Nick Butcher

An enduring monument to Britain's greatest naval hero, which has towered over Great Yarmouth for 200 years, will have its bicentenary anniversary marked in a special service on Sunday.

The Nelson monument. Picture: Archant

The Nelson monument. Picture: Archant - Credit: Archant � 2011

At 2pm there will be a blessing of the Nelson monument, built at South Denes to honour Norfolk's most famous son, Horatio Nelson, who was killed at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805.

Organised by Great Yarmouth Borough Council, the service will be led by Rev Simon Ward, the new rector of Great Yarmouth team ministry, and will feature a reading about the 144ft high landmark's origins by Kerry Robinson-Payne, the mayor of the borough and curator of the Nelson Museum.

Mrs Robinson-Payne said: 'The story of Nelson and the pillar built to commemorate him are an important part of the borough's and Norfolk's rich cultural heritage, so it is important to mark key anniversaries such as this.

'The pillar represents the thanks of a grateful people to Britain's most eminent naval hero, a son of Norfolk and a freeman of our borough.

'It is also a Great Yarmouth landmark.

'Two centuries on, it still becomes the focus of the town's commemorations every October, when we toast's Nelson's immortal memory at the annual Trafalgar Day service.

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'The monument is open to the public on a limited number of days each year, thanks to a fantastic group of volunteers who give their free time to enable both locals and visitors to make an ascent of the pillar and learn the history of this Grade I-listed monument.'

Lord Nelson, who was born at Burnham Thorpe, in 1758, landed at Yarmouth on three occasions.

When he landed at Yarmouth after the Battle of the Nile, in 1798, he was given a hero's welcome and was carried to the Wrestler's Inn, on Church Plain. There he was presented with the freedom of the borough.

The Norfolk Naval Pillar, as it is officially known, was funded by public subscription and cost £7,000. Great Yarmouth was chosen as the ideal location, with the position on South Denes, then an empty sand spit, ensuring it would be seen from both land and sea.

Construction started on August 15, 1817 and took two years to complete.