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Last Updated: Wednesday, 6 June 2007, 08:42 GMT 09:42 UK
Veterans' Churchill hearse honour
Crowds watch as the hearse carrying Sir Winston Churchill passes by
Sir Winston Churchill was burried at Bladon parish church
The hearse used to carry wartime leader Sir Winston Churchill is being offered to the families of veterans of WWII free of charge for funeral services.

The hearse carried the former Prime Minister's coffin to his final resting place in Bladon, Oxon in 1965.

Bristol-based MW Funeral Directors is beginning the new service on Wednesday as a mark of appreciation for the veterans' wartime contribution.

The gesture marks 63 years since the D-day landings.

"Real honour"

Bladon parish church lies just outside the Blenheim estate, where Sir Winston Churchill was born.

The 1965 Princess hearse was bought by the firm at auction in Christie's in 2003 and has been fully restored.

Since then it has been used for funerals of people who were in the armed services.

"We've had it in service for three years now and have come to realise how much it means to families of veterans, who consider it a real honour and who understand how much Churchill meant to that generation," said a Wayne Armstrong of MW Funeral Directors.

"We want to make it available to everyone who served in the war and to whom we owe so much."


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