The dinner to mark the 242nd anniversary of the Battle of Flamborough Head was a stunning success at the White Lodge Hotel on Thursday evening. The organising group, Filey Bay 1779, are committed to making it an annual event and it is hoped that next year will be even more spectacular.
Due to the pandemic restrictions the planned guests from the United States were unable to travel, but diners were treated to a prerecorded video address from the Honorary President of Filey Bay 1779, the author and historian Donald Shomette, from the United States.
Among the guests at the dinner were representatives of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II: Mr Jim Dick OBE, Lord-Lieutenant of East Riding Yorkshire; Mr Chris Legard, Vice-Lord Lieutenant, North Yorkshire Lieutenancy Office; Venetia Wrigley DL, High Sheriff of North Yorkshire; and Richard Shepherdson Esq, East Riding High Sheriff.
The political world was represented by Kevin Hollinrake, MP, Thirsk & Malton; Cllr Helen Swiers, North Yorkshire County Council; and Cllr John Casey, Scarborough Borough Council.
The Filey Bay 1779 group are building a close relationship with the John Paul Jones Birthplace Museum near Dumfries and the manager of the museum, Susan Dixon, was in attendance. Another notable guest was James Mason, Chief Executive, Welcome to Yorkshire and representing the Royal Navy was Ken Lomas, Commanding Officer, Filey Sea Cadets.
A truly spectacular firework display was watched by a crowd of around one hundred people who had gathered on the Crescent Gardens. Afterwards the diners heard speeches from Dr David Pendleton on the Battle of Flamborough Head, and the often overlooked heroic defence of the vital convoy by the two Royal Navy ships, and finally Bruce Blackburn from Merlin Burrows on the continued search for the wreck of the USS Bonhomme Richard.
A raffle, ran in fabulous fashion by Filey Bay Today editor Natalie Bosomworth, raised well into four figures that will help run next year’s events. A highlight was the auctioning of artist Malcolm East’s original paintings of the battle, with one selling for over £500. Malcolm was in attendance and was delighted by the response to his works. His kind donation of the paintings perhaps epitomises the spirit of the event. The community really came together to make the evening a roaring success.
Sadly, due to international tensions in the wake of the withdrawal of US and British troops from Afghanistan, the scheduled visit of a US Navy warship in the bay had to be cancelled. Similarly the hoped for delegation from the United States Embassy were unable to attend. However, we understand that 23 September 2022 is very much in the diary of both the US Embassy and the US Navy.
On Sunday 26 September in the Memorial Gardens, Filey Sea Cadets will gather at 2pm for the service of remembrance led by the Vicar of Filey to honour all those who took part in the Battle of Flamborough Head. Unfortunately, we understand that the planned parade from St Oswald’s Church to the Memorial Gardens had to be cancelled as a Filey Town Councillor raised objections as all the necessary permissions had not been gained from the local authority.