ONLINE VOTE: Thatcher statue for Grantham - which would you prefer?

OPTION 1 - Margaret Thatcher seated.

OPTION 1 - Margaret Thatcher seated.

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A debate which has raged in Grantham for decades comes to a head this week - should the town celebrate its most famous daughter with a statue?

Well, here’s a first look at three artist’s impressions showing what the statue could look like once in place.

OPTION 2 - Margaret Thatcher on a plinth.

OPTION 2 - Margaret Thatcher on a plinth.

The campaign for a statue is being led by the charity which runs Grantham Museum, Grantham Community Heritage Association. The association is pushing for the statue to be placed outdoors, in St Peter’s Hill, where it could spark international interest and bring huge economic benefit to the town through increased tourism.

Helen Goral, chairman of GCHA, said: “Grantham has a lot of things going for it but Margaret Thatcher is the one thing we have that no-one else does.

“Our visitor book at the museum shows people from all over the world - America, Japan, Canada, New Zealand, Australia - and they are continually amazed by how little we have in the town and the museum to recognise her and I think that speaks volumes.”

The association, which also runs Grantham Museum, wants an outdoor statue, ideally in St Peter’s Hill, pending planning approval from South Kesteven District Council.

OPTION 3 - Margaret Thatcher at ground level.

OPTION 3 - Margaret Thatcher at ground level.

Chairman of GCHA Helen Goral said: “I’m keeping an open mind on the three options but I would be quite keen to see any of them. What’s important to me and the museum is to try and encourage people to embrace our history a little bit.

“Whether you agreed with her or not if you can use Margaret Thatcher to capitalise on an increase in tourism which in turn leads to people spending money in the town, that has to be a good thing.

“If we can capitalise on Margaret Thatcher as one of our most famous exports then we should be doing that.”

The association hopes to raise £200,000 in total through its campaign. For every £1 donated, 50p will go towards the statue and 50p towards a refurbishment of Grantham Museum.

The campaign began in March, a month before the death of the former Prime Minister, and the association has been in contact with the family of Margaret Thatcher throughout.

Helen said: “We have been in touch with the family. They are happy for the project to go ahead and we will keep them informed at every stage.

“Before we launched the project there was contact with the family and we would not have launched if they had been against it.”

The final design is still up for debate but the three options give people an idea of what the statue may look like. One is raised on a plinth, one on ground level and one with Baroness Thatcher sat in a chair.

Helen said: “We’re not saying any of the three designs are exactly what it is going to look like, it’s really about giving people the visual.”

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READ THE FULL STORY IN TODAY’S GRANTHAM JOURNAL