New practice coffin made for RAF station

� UK MOD Crown Copyright 2016

� UK MOD Crown Copyright 2016

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A Kirkby company has provided staff at a Lincolnshire air base with a new practice coffin - to help them repatriate service personnel with dignity.

Members of the Armed Forces based at RAF Waddington regularly provide guards of honour for the remains of service men and women who are killed overseas.

In order for the ceremonies to run smoothly, staff rehearse regularly to ensure the repatriation runs smoothly.

Coffin makers Steve Soult Ltd, based in Byron Avenue, made the new coffin when they discovered the on they had was on-loan from another base was inadequate for the purpose.

It was child-sized and did not have the correct number of handles, so the bearing team struggled to practice with it, said Warrant Officer Steve Marshall.

The new coffin is full-sized and decorated in the RAF colours, as well as the station crest.

Sales director Graham Soult said: “We were delighted to help the RAF. With my daughter serving and with many of our staff previous members of the Armed Forces we knew that providing a simple veneered coffin would not suffice.”

RAF Waddington’s Steve Marshall said: “I was taken aback. I have never seen a coffin like it, the colour was perfect and the engravings were something special.

“To carry a coffin that displays our station crest is something we are all hugely proud of, and knowing the care and attention that went into the making of this coffin gave all of us involved a great sense of pride when we carried it.”

To thank the company, Station Warrant Officer Marshall commissioned a photograph of the coffin being carried by the bearing team in front of a Vulcan Bomber.

Warrant Officer Marshall said: “Steve Soult Ltd went the extra mile to produce the coffin.”

When presented with a the framed picture Mr Soult said: “It was a wonderful gesture.”