DERVOCK village took its place in the commemorations and celebrations held throughout the world to mark "Trafalgar Day" on October 19.
Local man Peter Thompson explained that he had organised Dervock’s “Trafalgar Day” event for two reasons, first and foremost to highlight and showcase the historic, unique windows in the Allen and Adair Memorial Hall which depict that famous British Naval battle in 1805. The second reason was that he hoped his efforts would raise much needed funds for the restoration of the hall.
Peter recalled that he had organised Dervock’s first ever Trafalgar Day back in 2015 and that night he made a commitment to the people of Dervock when he said:
“Today celebrations are taking place throughout the world to mark the victory of the British Fleet at Trafalgar in 1805. It is with immense pride I can say here tonight that as and from today Dervock will take her rightful place in these ceremonies."
Following the commitment Peter made in 2015 he followed it up with another spectacular event this year.
He commented: “The day itself was a tremendous success with representatives from both The Royal Marines Association and the Royal Navy Association present, amongst the Royal Navy contingent was Commander John Patterson.”
The day started off at 11.30am with local historian Mr Keith Beattie touching on what the event was about and then introducing the Rev. John Anderson, rector of the Parish who welcomed all the guests to the Church Hall.
Keith then invited the Deputy Mayor Ald. Sharon McKillop to say a few words and Alderman McKillop congratulated the organisers in the staging of the event and explained how events such as this play a major role in the local tourist trade and that this is to be welcomed.
A huge round of applause was heard from the floor when former Lord Lieutenant Mrs Joan Christie CVO OBE was invited to the podium. Mrs Christie spoke very highly of the village and its people and congratulated the organisers and commented that North Antrim needs more of these types of events that showcase our wonderful diverse history.
Mr Keith Beattie then took to the podium and delivered an excellent account of the Allen and Adair families and the history of the Allen & Adair Memorial Hall.
Keith then invited Mr George Black MBE who acted as ‘Parade Commander’ and wreaths were laid below the historic windows on behalf of the Royal Navy Association (NI) and the Royal Marines Association (NI). In her role as Deputy Mayor Ald Sharon McKillop also laid a wreath on behalf of Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council.
After the wreath laying service Dick Glasgow played ‘Life on the Ocean Wave’, the regimental march of the Royal Marines as a tribute to Captain Charles William Adair RM and all those who served and gave their lives at Trafalgar in 1805.
Keith then invited Mr Frankie Cunningham co-founder of the event to say a few words. Frankie explained that he was delighted to be part of such an event and that he hoped to introduce more historical events such as street theatres and he hoped that soon, banners would be erected throughout the village that would help showcase Dervock’s proud history.
Commander John Patterson was then invited to the podium who expressed his delight at being invited to the Allen & Adair Hall, the home of the historic and important ‘Trafalgar Windows’ he was so impressed he gave a commitment that day that he would be profiling Dervock’s event at senior level and gave an assurance of attendance at next year’s annual event.
The main organiser Peter Thompson, then took to the podium where he informed the guests that he was proud of Dervock.
“Today the flags of the Royal Marines & the Royal Navy fly proudly in our village and they fly there with good reason and when I look at these windows I feel a deep sense of pride that our village is the only one within the entire Causeway Coast & Glens Council area to have a stained glass memorial to Trafalgar, the most famous sea battle in British Naval history.”
Peter went on to explain why he felt it was important to carry on the legacy Captain Samuel Allen had left the village
All present were then served with an excellent finger buffet provided by the Peppermill Cafe, Dervock. Afterwards they were shown round the huge collection of here of genuine, rare period items and other memorabilia connected to Lord Nelson and the Napoleonic wars that was on display.
Peter commented: “As the main organiser I would like to thank Matthew Hagan & Staff of The Peppermill cafe, Dervock, Dick Glasgow, Leanne Abernethy, Frankie Cunningham. A special thankyou goes to Keith Beattie whose help, support and assistance I relied on heavily due to my own ill health issues.
“Keith was behind me all the way, taking the pressure off me and guiding me in the right direction with advice and willingly shared with me his expertise in organising events and for that I am extremely grateful.
“Special thanks also go to the Rev John Anderson who arranged transport for me and gave me a free hand in the use of the hall.”
This year’s Trafalgar Day event was supported by Ultoniae Cultural & Heritage Society, through the Peace Impact Programme (PIP) initiative (Community development & Tourism) - funded by the ‘International Fund for Ireland’ and by Leanne Abernethy 'Dalriada Training Services' C.I.C.’
My sincere apologies if I have missed anyone out, this is most definitely not intentional.
For anyone wishing to the upkeep of the historic Allen & Adair Memorial Hall please donate using the following method:
Account name: Derrykeighan Parish Church Fundraising Account
Account number : 10898110