Arun Yacht Club did its duty with a sold-out banquet in honour of Britain’s most-celebrated naval hero.
Littlehampton’s Mayor Billy Blanchard-Cooper and the harbour master Billy Johnson were among the guests at the club’s annual Trafalgar Night ceremony on Saturday, which marked the Battle of Trafalgar and the achievements of Admiral Lord Nelson.
The mayor offered Littlehampton’s gratitude to the town’s maritime community: “Littlehampton has much to celebrate and recognise the part played by our maritime heritage in our lives, and it’s important to support the nautical community which helps make our town such a special place to live and visit.”
The 1805 battle, fought off the coast of Spain, saw the British Royal Navy snatch victory from the combined fleets of the French and Spanish navies during the Napoleonic Wars.
The Franco-Spanish fleet lost twenty-two ships without a single British vessel being lost, a spectacular victory which made Nelson a hero.
Guests to the sold-out event dressed in nautical costumes reflecting the period. The club’s cooks served food from that era with a modern twist. Dishes included Lobscouse, a type of stew, Figgy Dowdy, a pudding traditionally made with suet, raisins and liquor, and hardtack, known as ship’s biscuits.
Fresh from their appearance on BBC Radio 2’s Mark Radcliffe’s Folk Music Show earlier this month, the Wellington Wailers from Shoreham performed their repertoire of sea shanties, along with accompanying drummer, fiddler and accordion player.
Representatives from the Littlehampton Harbour Board and Littlehampton RNLI Station were also guests of honour, and some of the proceeds - £100 - from the evening has been donated to the RNLI’s life-boat and beach lifeguard service.
Arun Yacht Club is a community organisation run by volunteers which is looking for new members, particularly those who wish to learn to sail. Visit arunyc.co.uk for more information.