A FUNDRAISING campaign has been launched to restore a locomotive which hauled Winston Churchill’s funeral train, in time for the 50th anniversary of his death.

The British Railways locomotive 34051 Winston Churchill was chosen for the honorary trip from Waterloo to Hanborough on January 30, 1965, and was watched by millions of mourners worldwide.

After the locomotive bearing his name fulfilled its duty, it was earmarked for preservation and joined the National Collection in 1966.

The Battle of Britain-class locomotive is on display at the National Railway Museum, in York, in the same condition it arrived in and is in urgent need of an overhaul.

Organisers of the campaign are aiming to raise more than £35,000 and are planning a gala dinner in York to officially launch the appeal on April 9.

Ian Harrison, chairman of the South of England Group, which is leading the campaign, said: “We are determined that the work be carried out in good time for the 50th anniversary of Churchill’s death and the 70th anniversary of the end of the Second World War, in 2015.”

A special guest at the dinner will be James Lester, who was the fireman on Churchill’s funeral train.

He said: “The steam days were always special to me, and my journey on the funeral train stands out in particular.

My memories remain with me today and I am giving the proposed restoration of Winston Churchill to its former glory my full support.”

Tickets for the gala dinner cost £55 or £500 for a table of ten.

For information call the Friends of the National Railway Museum on 01904- 636874 or email nrm.friends @nrm.org.uk Donations to the appeal should be sent to FNRM (Winston Churchill), Leeman Road, York, Y026 4XJ.