A FORMER friend and racing teammate of Sir Edward Heath has accused the trustees of his former residence Arundells of disrespecting his memory.
It is after the Sir Edward Heath Charitable Foundation restored the bow section of his racing boat in memorial to Christopher Chadd and Nigel Cumming who died when it sank in a storm.
Anthony Churchill claims the former British prime minister had wanted “all traces” of the racing yacht Morning Cloud III destroyed.
The bow was unveiled by Olympic sailor Ben Ainslie at Arundells on May 15 in memory of the tragedy which happened in 1974.
Mr Churchill says he was not invited to the ceremony because the trustees knew of his opposition and says he has the backing of other crew members.
He said: “Three of us from the regular crew who I contacted recall his explicit view that all traces of this yacht should be destroyed.
“How the bow came to be squirrelled away in a boat yard, then sold via eBay, then falling into the hands of the controllers of Arundells, is a mystery.
“Why Ted’s wishes have not been respected is disturbing.
“We, the racing crew, had refined the design away from ‘cruising’ to a racer designed to win against the top sixteen ocean racing nations of the world.
“We had flattened the deck and left out the doghouse, shallowing the cockpit so we could easily speed onto deck to alter her into a go-faster mode.
“She wasn’t a racing Ford Escort but a lethal Formula 1 speedster, which needed careful control.
“The two sad deaths should be remembered, but should this not be with a large plaque, and not with the war-grave of the boat’s hull?
“They’ve rescued Ted’s house for the benefit of the Nation, congratulations on such a feat, but on this occasion at what cost to Ted’s wishes?”
A spokesman for The Sir Edward Heath Charitable Foundation said it had worked closely with the former prime minister during his life and “knew him well”.
In a statement they said: “The project came to fruition because of the strong support of the family of Sir Edward’s Godson, Christopher Chadd, who were close to Sir Edward throughout his life.
“Once the existence of the bow came to light, some years after Sir Edward’s death, it seemed a fitting and imaginative gesture to support its restoration as a memorial to Nigel Cumming and Christopher Chadd, and to provide a site for reflection in Arundells’ garden.
“We were pleased to welcome a number of members of Sir Edward’s racing crew to the unveiling.”
Jonathon Chadd, brother of Christopher, said at the time of the unveiling it was a “fitting memorial”.