Sir Edward Heath's salvaged yacht unveiled as memorial in Wiltshire

Edward Heath aboard his yacht Morning Cloud Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Sir Edward Heath is said to have been "devastated" by the tragedy

A salvaged section of former prime minister Sir Edward Heath's yacht has been unveiled in Wiltshire, in memory of two crewmen who died when it sank.

Morning Cloud III was on its way to Cowes in 1974 when it was hit by a huge storm in the channel, and wrecked.

Two crew members died, including Sir Edward's godson Christopher Chadd.

The yacht's bow, bought on eBay and donated to the politician's Salisbury home, Arundells, was unveiled by Olympic sailor Sir Ben Ainslie.

The wooden racing yacht was one of several, owned and skippered by Heath.

Although he was not on board when it sank, Lord David Hunt from the Sir Edward Heath Charitable Foundation said he had been "devastated".

"1974 was Ted Heath's annus horribilis," he said.

"He narrowly lost two general elections, his flat was bombed but this disaster distressed him more than anything else."

Image copyright (C) British Broadcasting Corporation
Image caption The memorial was unveiled at Sir Edward's former home Arundells, which was left to the nation and first opened to the public in 2008

Giles Ball, from the Friends of Arundells, said the sinking of such a "well-known yacht" had been a "bit of a bombshell".

"It was very sad, obviously, at the time and a huge loss," he said.

"But having sunk, the boat was eventually salvaged and years later the bow section appeared on eBay and was bought by a lady who very kindly offered to donate it to Arundells on a permanent loan basis."

Newly restored, the bow section was unveiled by Sir Ben in the grounds of Arundells and a memorial plaque blessed by the Bishop of Salisbury.

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