Centenarian joins Trafalgar Day celebration
A centenarian who revived the annual Trafalgar Day celebration in a Cornish village more than 60 years ago took his place among the congregation yesterday.
Canon Michael Hocking, who celebrated his 100th birthday last month, was among the civic and military dignitaries as Madron once again commemorated the death of Lord Admiral Nelson at the Battle of Trafalgar.
Accompanied by HMS Seahawk Volunteer Band, guards and sea cadets marched through the village near Penzance for the parish church service which has been held in the Cornish town since 1946.
Dr Mike Hersant, a reader at the church, said support for the tradition remained strong. He added: "The church was full and its was lovely to have Canon Hocking, who restored the service, here again.
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"As a community, I think we like to hold on to the belief that the news of the victory at Trafalgar and of Nelson's death was first heard in Penzance."
It is said that news of Nelson's death in 1805 quickly spread to Madron, where a memorial service was held.
The Nelson Banner, which is still kept at Madron Parish Church, is believed to have been paraded for the first time. Yesterday it was carried by Sea Cadet Ben Scanlan.
Among the civic and military leaders at the service were Colonel Edward Bolitho, Lord Lieutenant of Cornwall, Penzance mayor Phil Rendle and Captain Willie Entwisle, the commanding officer at RNAS Culdrose.
The service was led by the Reverend Tim Hawkins with a sermon by the Venerable Audrey Elkington, Archdeacon of Bodmin.