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The Anniversary of Sir Winston Churchill

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This is a text-only version of an article first published on Friday, 13 February 2015. Information shown on this page may no longer be current.

ST Martin's Church, Bladon, receives tens of thousands of visitors each year.

It's a lovely church, and well worth a visit: but most of these people come, not to see the church, but a grave.

For this is where Sir Winston Churchill is buried, beneath an unadorned stone slab, bearing simply his name, and his dates, together with those of his wife, Clementine. Churchill died on 24th January 1965, and exactly fifty years to the day since he died, his family attended a quiet service of thanksgiving and commemoration at St Martin's.

At Churchill's grave the Last Post and Reveille were played, some of his great-great-grandchildren laid wreaths, and the actor Robert Hardy, who has played Churchill on so many occasions, read the poem 'At Bladon' which concluded Richard Dimbleby's celebrated television commentary at Churchill's State Funeral. Canon Adrian Daffern, who led the service, also attended the commemorations in London a week later: a wreath-laying ceremony at the House of Commons, and a further service of Commemoration at Westminster Abbey.

Adrian has also worked with the Education Team at Blenheim Palace to produce school assemblies and prayers for this commemoration year. "We're very honoured to be the guardians of Churchill's grave' says Adrian, 'but this is not a shrine to Sir Winston.

St Martin's is a really active, happy village church, and our focus is very much on growth and service.

But we don't lose sight of the fact that Sir Winston lies here, and we continue to minister to his family and value our relationship to them hugely'. Lady Mary Soames, Churchill's last surviving daughter, bequeathed her banner as a Lady of the Garter to the church, and that now hangs proudly on the west wall.

A stained glass window commemorating this anniversary year is due to be installed later this year. Donations to the window can be made at churchillwindow. weebly. com Other resources are at wwwchurchillcentral. com/education

Page last updated: Friday 13th February 2015 12:00 AM
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