Monday, August 22, 2005


Schoolgirls set to torch Victory


August 19, 2005

The HMS Victory replica took two
years to build.

Two Devon schoolgirls have been speaking about their excitement at the prospect of setting fire to a 100ft (30m) replica of HMS Victory.

Sisters Hattie and Katie Hill, from Welcombe in north Devon, will light the blue touchpaper on 27 August in front of thousands of people.

The spectacular vessel has been built over two years by the Torrington Cavaliers charity group in north Devon.

They will be helped by the man who won an internet charity auction.

Hong Kong businessman Nick Hill, no relation to the pair, paid £325 for the right to torch the Victory.

His goddaughter Hattie, 11, said: "I am very excited about lighting it, I cannot wait." Katie, nine, said the prospect of lighting the huge fire was "cool", adding: "I am really excited, and my friends are a bit jealous."

The vessel was built over two years by around 30 members of the Cavaliers group.
The event is bidding to raise about £60,000 for cancer charities and local good causes.

Big crowds
The vessel, based on plans of the Victory, has three 100ft masts, 13 miles of rigging, and furled sails.

The huge yellow and black three-deck hull comes complete with figurehead, 48 gunports, anchor, cabins and lifeboats.

On the night there will be a 24-gun volley from the vessel's gunports, and the crowd will hear a narration of the Trafalgar conflict.

Over 35 years the Cavaliers have forged a reputation for building and firing some of the country's most spectacular bonfires for charity.

In 2000 they built a full-size replica of part of the London of 1666 and recreated the "Great Fire of London" by burning it down in front of 20,000 people.

A few years earlier they constructed a huge replica of the Houses of Parliament, and invited a descendant of Guy Fawkes to put the torch to it.


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