Nelson's Tower superfan Teddy Gadalla closes monument at Cluny Hill, Forres until next tourist season
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THE SCHOOLBOY at the front of the queue to visit a local monument when it re-opened for the first time after the Coronavirus pandemic hit, also helped close it for the season.
Forres Heritage Trust (FHT) volunteers were surprised when they arrived at Nelson's Tower in July to find Drumduan School pupil, Teddy Gadalla (9), had queued in the rain for more than an hour to ensure he was its first visitor ... so they thought it was only fitting that he was there to close it too.
The custodians invited him to lower the flag which symbolises Nelson's Tower is now closed until next year.
Volunteer co-ordinator for FHT - who also look after the Tolbooth on High Street - Peter Haworth, said: "We are so impressed with Teddy. It’s fantastic that a young boy has such an interest in his town and history that he is a regular visitor to the tower."
As well as allowing Teddy to lower the red ensign which flies to indicate the tower is open, Teddy was gifted a T-shirt and will be given a print of the monument.
Teddy said: "I was really excited to close the tower. I've been up lots of times over the summer. We often go to Grant Park where I run up to the tower, up to the top and back down again!"
He added: "It was quite easy to take the flag down and I think I might like to be a volunteer with FHT in the future."
Teddy’s mum Rayne said her family felt honoured by FHT remembering Teddy and asking him back.
She added: "We've all been really excited in the lead up to it. It’s great to have the availability of Nelson’s Tower, which we can freely visit. The volunteers are always so kind and friendly."
Until July, Nelson’s Tower had not been open since it closed for the season in September 2019.
The monument was built in 1806 by public subscription and was erected to honour Admiral Lord Horatio Nelson who had died the year before at the Battle of Trafalgar. As well as inflicting a heavy defeat on the French navy, the battle also put pay to Napoleon's plans to invade Britain.
This year it was open on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays from 2pm-4pm.
Peter confirmed, despite opening almost four months later than usual, Nelson's Tower was busy this year.
He said: "Over the two months we've had 824 visitors, on a par with previous years. This last weekend was very busy which was a really nice way to round off what has been a difficult couple of years."
To find out more about Nelson’s Tower and volunteering with Forres Heritage Trust, visit: www.forresheritage.co.uk