All the way from the Isle of Man, pupils from Arbory Primary School brought the Battle of Trafalgar to HMS Victory when they performed a short play to visitors, schools and the Lord Mayor, Mrs Terry Hall, on Wednesday, May 20 as part of their week long visit to Portsmouth.
Some 31 pupils performed Hearts of Oak at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, on the portside arena of HMS Victory. Following the play, Lord Mayor Terry Hall presented a Portsmouth Presentation Plaque to Quintin Gill - a Member of the House of Keys, before presenting all the pupils with a Portsmouth pin brooch. In return, the children presented the Lord Mayor and the Historic Dockyard with Isle of Man pin brooches, flags and pens.
The idea to write Hearts of Oak came from Rushen MHK Quintin Gill, a former member of the Royal Navy who travelled with the school to Portsmouth for the performance.
Hearts of Oak was written by Ballakermeen High School teacher Chris Maybury, in 2005, to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Trafalgar.
The play focuses on Captain John Quilliam, a hero of Arbory parish, and features the great contribution he made at the Battle of Trafalgar by rigging the steering tiller on HMS Victory.
After the famous battle Quilliam, who was from a southside farming family, returned to the Island and became a Member of the House of Keys.
The play has been performed by nine to 11-year-olds at Arbory School every year since it was written, both in school and at Arbory Church, where Captain Quilliam is buried. It has proven so popular with the children that, over the years, the play has been extended to include an even bigger cast.
Acting head teacher of Arbory School, Triana Collister said that the children and staff were all very excited about their visit to Portsmouth and actually seeing HMS Victory.
Photos courtesy of Sean Hounsell