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Cigar butt smoked by Sir Winston Churchill going up for auction

By KentOnline reporter

A half-smoked cigar butt which was stubbed out by Sir Winston Churchill is expected to fetch £700 at auction.

It was found wrapped up in an old shoebox after being handed to police officer Bill Wood as a souvenir in the 1950s.

The officer was given it as a gift while he checked in at Churchill's Chartwell country home near Westerham during his second stint as Prime Minister.

A cigar butt half-smoked by Sir Winston Churchill is going up for auction. Picture: SWNS.com

Mr Wood kept the butt in a small plastic bag, and it was passed down his son Mike, 74, following his death in 1971.

The architect had forgotten about its existence until watching The Darkest Hour, starring Gary Oldman, earlier this year.

The butt is now set to be sold at Hanson's Auctioneers in Etwall, Derbyshire, on March 27 with an estimate of between £500 and £700.

Mr Wood, of Belper, Derbyshire, said: "I have had the cigar, safely wrapped up, since my parents passed away.

"My father, Bill Wood, was given the cigar in either 1952 or 1953. At the time, Churchill was British prime minister and my father was a police officer in Kent.

"At night, as part of a fast-response team, my father would frequently check that all was well at Chartwell, Churchill's country home, near Westerham.

"They'd call in there and make sure everything was in order and, during one of those trips to Chartwell, someone in the house gave my father the cigar butt which had been smoked by Winston himself.

Wartime leader Churchill is believed to have smoked 250,000 cigars during his lifetime

"I am sure there is someone who would enjoy having this.

"It is a fantastic piece of memorabilia."

Jim Spencer, of Hansons Auctioneers, said: "This is an incredible piece of history, the chance to own a cigar smoked by one of the greatest political leaders of all time.

"It's an iconic piece of Churchill memorabilia because he was so often pictured holding a cigar."

It's believed that Churchill smoked around 250,000 cigars during his lifetime - working out at 10 a day.

He is said to have become partial to them around 1895 when he was in Havana, Cuba, to observe the Spanish battles against Cuban guerrillas.

The wartime leader is believed to have been fond of maduro cigars, but often didn't smoke more than half way down them.

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