A £200,000 fundraising project has been launched to commission a “larger than life” statue of Margaret Thatcher for her home town of Grantham.
The move comes after months of speculation about how Grantham may commemorate its most famous daughter, which has attracted interest worldwide.
As well as the statue, Grantham Museum - which is run by volunteers - wants to commission a permanent exhibition of her life and work within its town centre building and to make other improvements to ensure its future.
The museum intends to raise the money through donations and merchandise sales - a minimum of 50p from every £1 donated will go towards refurbishing the museum to, in the words of PR and marketing director Helen Goral: “make it a sustainable destination of choice for generations to come.”
She continued: “Whatever you think of Mrs Thatcher she was a local grocer’s daughter, was the first female Prime Minister and the longest serving of the 20th century. Her heritage deserves a fitting tribute and exhibition.”
Grantham Community Heritage Association, which runs the museum, claims feedback from local residents and museum supporters further afield “proves the huge support and appetite” for Grantham to recognise Mrs Thatcher.
Local Conservative MP Nick Boles, who has never met Mrs Thatcher, said: “I think she would have applauded this, because it preserves the history of the town and marks what she did for the country and there will be no tax-payer funding involved, This is about the statue and the institution of the museum together. I will run to anyone, I will call anyone, to help raise this money.”
The association could not deliver details about the statue or exhibition but chairman Graham Jeal said the statue would be “larger than life.”
He could not say whether or not the statue would be erected inside the museum or outside on St Peter’s Hill, the site of a large bronze statue to another former Grantham resident, Sir Isaac Newton.
Last week, the Labour group at South Kesteven District Council proposed funding a Thatcher statue, but the motion was defeated 40-7 by the Tory-led council.