BUSINESSES hope Portsmouth could become the focal point for a new national bank holiday to mark Trafalgar Day.
Hotels, restaurants and pubs in the city have launched a ‘Taste the Victory’ campaign to celebrate Admiral Lord Nelson’s heroics.
They want October 21 – the date of the Battle of Trafalgar – to become a day off to celebrate all things British.
And all the food outlets behind the campaign have agreed to offer a tasty salt beef sandwich on Trafalgar Day this year.
From the price of every one sold, £1 will be donated to the National Museum of the Royal Navy, which works to ensure HMS Victory, in Portsmouth Historic Dockyard, is preserved for future generations.
The beef was the staple diet for sailors heading to foreign shores from Portsmouth – right from when records began up to and including the Second World War.
Garry Greensmith, from Henson Food Services, which supplies salt beef, said: ‘We are trying to get salt beef into Portsmouth in hotels, restaurants, golf clubs and so on.
‘We are trying to celebrate October 21 and I want to make Trafalgar Day a bank holiday.
‘Nelson was a hero and saved the nation.
‘We have had the Olympics and the Diamond Jubilee and I think something should happen with Nelson.
‘We have stuck him on a column in the Trafalgar Square, he was a national hero and we should celebrate that.
‘It would bring a lot of interest in to Portsmouth and it’s a really good thing for the city to have this product.’
The sandwich, branded the Victory, contains salt beef and pickle on a choice of breads.
One business already on board is the George Hotel in Queen Street.
Owner Paul Wilkinson said: ‘This campaign is to promote salt beef, which was the main staple diet for sailors, and promote the autumnal bank holiday and Britishness.
‘It’s very important that we bring more people into Portsmouth – it’s better for everyone.
‘More than anything else it’s something else to promote all the attractions we have down here and bring in more tourism for the local economy.
‘Portsmouth should be one of the central points for the day. It is where he left from and came back to.
‘He is our national hero and there are very few that surpass him.’
Gemma Ralph, from Fairwat National Foodservice which provides the beef, said: ‘A lot of people don’t know a lot about Nelson and the beef they ate on the ship. It’s about recognising him by having a bank holiday.’