THE descendent of Nelson’s second-in-command – who played a crucial role in the Battle of Trafalgar – has spoken about her pride at seeing a festival launched to honour his name.

Susan Collingwood-Cameron, the great-great-great niece of Admiral Lord Cuthbert Collingwood, was at the unveiling of the Collingwood 2010 Festival.

She said: “It is good to see that he is getting the recognition that he deserves.

“I have read a lot of personal letters he wrote, which I sometimes thought was an intrusion. But it was very interesting.

“He was a modest person and reserved, but very affectionate towards his family and friends, and had a very distinctive and dry sense of humour.”

Born in 1748, Collingwood went to sea aged only 13.

At Trafalgar, his ship, the Royal Sovereign, was the first into action and, as Nelson lay mortally wounded, it was Collingwood who directed the fleet to victory.

The bi-centenary of his death is on March 7 and throughout this year a series of events will take place at a number of venues across the North-East.

Collingwood – A Northumbrian Abroad, opens at Newcastle’s Discovery Museum tomorrow.

There are objects, paintings and extracts from his letters exploring his naval career away and the influence on him of his lifelong love of Northumberland.

During the weekend of March 6 and 7, a number of events will be held, including a naval and military parade through Newcastle, a memorial service at St Nicholas Cathedral and a commemorative event at the Collingwood Monument, in Tynemouth, including an incoming warship and gun salutes.

Captain Stephen Healy, of the festival committee, said: “Anyone who has sailed in or out of the river Tyne, or visited the coast at Tynemouth or South Shields, is aware of the Collingwood Monument and every Geordie knows Collingwood Street, in Newcastle.”