THREE oak saplings from the North East will be planted on a Mediterranean island this weekend in honour of Tyneside naval great Admiral Lord Collingwood.
After the Battle of Trafalgar, Collingwood was given command of the British fleet in the Mediterranean for what proved the last five years of his life.
His shore base was a large house – now the Collingwood Hotel – at Port Mahon on Menorca.
This weekend the island will stage its own events to mark the 200th anniversary of the death of Collingwood on board a ship in Menorcan waters after he left the island for England.
The Asociacion Menorca Britannia, which promotes the links between the island and Britain, has commissioned a bronze bust of Collingwood which will be unveiled in a prominent position near the harbour at Port Mahon.
The 8ft oak saplings, donated by Trees Please in Corbridge, Northumberland, will be planted to represent Newcastle, where Collingwood was born, Morpeth where he had his family home and North Tyneside, where his monument stands and where his family-owned Chirton House is. The saplings also echo Collingwood’s habit, while on country walks in Northumberland, of scattering acorns from his pocket to provide the oak for future ships.
“The trees are a gesture of goodwill and friendship from the people of the North East,” said Capt Stephen Healy, chairman of the Collingwood 200 festival committee, who will be in Port Mahon for the weekend events.
“The trees will provide a poignant, living memorial to this great figure. They will also establish a lasting link between the North East and Menorca.”
There will be representation from the navy provided by the frigate HMS Monmouth. Trees Please director Charles Beaumont said: “We collect our seeds locally so it is possible that these specimens are descended from acorns planted by Collingwood himself.
“We are a North East company and we are very proud of our local heroes, so we are delighted to support the festival.”
THE actions of Admiral Lord Collingwood in the aftermath of the Battle of Trafalgar won the respect of the Spanish.
After leading the British fleet to victory at Trafalgar against the combined French and Spanish fleets, he dispatched boats to rescue enemy sailors in the storm which followed the battle.
He then arranged the safe landing of the sailors in Cadiz.
Collingwood is also remembered in Menorca through the organ in the Church of St Maria in Mahon.
He sent an escort of warships for a merchant vessel carrying to Menorca what was then one of the biggest organs in the world.
The organ, with more than 3,000 pipes and four keyboards, is also marking its 200th anniversary this year.