Unlucky in love? Try speed dating Nelson-style!

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HIS romance with mistress Lady Hamilton is the stuff of legend - and singletons will hope to harness some of Lord Nelson's pulling power at a speed dating event with a difference.

In an age where the search for love is often confined to the internet and the closest thing to penning a love letter is sending a text message, the National Museum of the Royal Navy will host a Georgian-themed speed dating event - mixing up the 21st and 18th centuries like never before.

Wearing Georgian masks, 50 hopefuls will mingle for four minutes at a time at Portsmouth Historic Dockyard in a bid to find someone special.

The dating event on Saturday, February 12, will be held in the museum's opulent Nelson gallery, an exhibition dedicated to the life of the famous admiral, who died leading Britain to victory at the Battle of Trafalgar.

Its inspired theme comes from the museum's unique collection of 19th century love letters sent from sailor Walter Grainger to his wife, Edith. The letters, which are hand-painted, will be out on display on the night in a bid to foster romantic feelings.

Organiser Roxy Martin-Cottee, 18, said: 'We wanted to do something around the love letters for Valentine's Day and this gives it a quirky twist. The Georgian masks will create an air of mystery and it'll be very romantic.

'I think people used to be more romantic in the old days. I'm hoping people come and have a really good night and maybe meet someone.'

There will be wine and a string quartet at the three-and-a-half hour event, which starts at 7.30pm.

The museum's enterprise manager Giles Gould said: 'It's a great setting for speed dating. There are lots of nooks and crannies so we can space the tables out away from each other. There's also lots of things to have a look at like old love letters.'

Mr Gould jokingly added: 'The room is all about Nelson. There is a Lady Hamilton section - not that we're encouraging mistresses on the night.'

Tickets for the event are 30 and include a glass of wine.

Daters are asked to 'dress to impress' and bring their own Georgian-style mask.

Booking is essential. For further details, contact 02392 727581 or email rowannah.martincottee@nmrn.org.uk.