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Last Updated: Thursday, 1 September 2005, 05:44 GMT 06:44 UK
State funeral barge up for hire
The Havengore
The barge sailed into history during the state funeral in 1965
A boat that sailed into history when she carried the coffin of Sir Winston Churchill down the Thames is now available for family services.

The Chatham-based charity that owns the Havengore is offering people the chance to scatter the ashes of their loved ones on the Medway or the Thames.

Kent's maritime history is expected to make the ceremonies particularly relevant to people in the county.

The region has strong connections with the Navy and former Royal Dockyards.

The first permanent royal dockyard was established at Portsmouth at the end of the 15th Century, followed by the additional dockyards along the Thames and Medway so the Royal Navy was close to London.

The additional royal dockyards were at Woolwich, Deptford, Sheerness and Chatham, which was used to repair warships moored on the Medway during the winter.

A spokesman for the Havengore Education and Leadership Mission said the decision to offer the service was in response to many inquiries from the public, and had been taken after consultation with the Royal British Legion and funeral directors.

State funeral

The educational trust also runs regular cruises for children on the River Medway.

The Havengore carried Churchill's coffin from Tower Pier to Festival Pier during the state funeral, which was watched on television by 350 million people worldwide and attended by 110 world leaders.

The former prime minister was buried on 30 January 1965, having died aged 90.

The barge was built in the 1950s by Tough's Boatyard in Teddington, the same firm Churchill had commissioned for boats used in the evacuation of Dunkirk, during World War II.

The 87ft craft was restored in the late 1990s and has taken part in various events marking the 60th anniversary of significant dates in World War II.


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