Trafalgar Bicentenary laid to rest at St Paul's Cathedral

The 200th anniversary of Vice-Admiral Lord Nelson's funeral is to be commemorated at a ceremony at St Paul's Cathedral on Monday 9th January 2006.

The service of Evensong at the Cathedral, in the presence of members of the 1805 Club and the Royal Navy, will contain elements of the one held exactly 200 years earlier and will take place at the very time Lord Nelson's body was laid to rest in the Crypt beneath the dome.

Afterwards, the Club has been given permission by the Cathedral to stage a ceremony at Nelson's Tomb, including a wreath-laying and dedication. The wreath will be laid by Club Vice President Mrs Anna Tribe OBE, JP, great-great-great grand-daughter of Lord Nelson and Lady Emma Hamilton. Club Chaplain, the Rev Peter Wadsworth will lead the ceremony.

A charity with nearly 500 members, the 1805 Club was founded in 1990 to preserve monuments and memorials to Lord Nelson, those who served with him and other sea-faring people of the Georgian era.

Nelson's Burial Service in 1806 was performed within the context of Evensong, whose stark simplicity contrasted with the Vice-Admiral's highly colourful and elaborate State Funeral, which lasted five days and was attended by tens of thousands of mourners.

One hundred of the Club's members have been invited to the service and dedication. Each will receive invitations based on the 1806 original, an In Memoriam keepsake and a fragment of material symbolic of the ensign torn into pieces by crew from Nelson's flagship HMS Victory, moments before the coffin was lowered through the nave floor. Today's members of HMS Victory's Cutter Crew will present the fragments to the guests.

After the service, eminent Nelson historian and author, Dr Colin White, will give his lecture on Nelson's religious faith, May The Great God Whom I Worship, to which the members of the public are invited.

Peter Warwick, Chairman of the 1805 Club, said: "We are particularly grateful to the Dean and Chapter of St Paul's for supporting the Club in this way and thrilled that the Royal Navy will be present at the service. It is based on the original in 1806, and I am sure for those present, it will be a unique occasion with the spirit of both time and place adding to the poignancy."

The Service is the last official event commemorating the bicentenary of the Battle of Trafalgar, which started in June 2005 with the International Fleet Review and included the national Trafalgar Service at the Cathedral on 23 October, attended by senior members of the Royal family.