THE CHEWED end of a fat cigar that Winston Churchill smoked in his hospital bed is to go under the hammer at auction and could fetch thousands.

In 1962, the wartime leader was recuperating from a fractured hip after tumbling from his bed.

Unrestricted by health and safety legislation he puffed away happily on the cigar and stubbed it out in an ashtray.

A student nurse collected it for her younger brother and saved it in a paper “Middlesex Hospital Soiled Dressing Disposal Bag”, where it has been ever since.

It is now being offered by Duke’s of Dorchester at its sale on October 15.

In 1962 Churchill was aged 87 and had been holidaying in Monte Carlo when he fell out of his bed, fracturing his hip.

He was flown back to London in an RAF VC10 at the request of then Prime Minister Harold Macmillan.

He spent several weeks recuperating in a private patients’ wing at Middlesex Hospital.

Dukes’ auctioneer Timothy Medhurst said: “This cigar marks a pivotal moment for Sir Winston Churchill.

“Churchill had already experienced many injuries and to have such a devastating injury occur at such an old age was a threat to his stalwart ‘British Bulldog’ image.

“This injury in 1962 was also a poignant moment in Churchill’s personal life – his beloved poodle Rufus II died whilst he was in hospital recovering.”