Grantham Journal Review of the Year: April

Margaret Thatcher.
Margaret Thatcher.
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Grantham’s most famous and controversial figure, the former Margaret Roberts – known globally as Mrs Thatcher – died at the age of 87 following a stroke at the Ritz hotel, London, at 11.25am on Monday, April 8.

Baroness Thatcher was given a ceremonial funeral with full military honours at St Paul’s Cathedral. It was the first time since the 1965 state funeral of Sir Winston Churchill the Queen attended the funeral of a former Prime Minister or domestic political figure.

The former greengrocer’s daughter was elected Prime Minister three times from 1979-90 and was the world’s foremost political figure of the 1980s. Mrs Thatcher was not afraid to make big decisions – such as taking military action in the Falklands and taming the militant miners’ union. She survived a bombing attempt by the IRA in October 1984.

Many will say her ‘Thatcherite’ successes improved the economy, which meant that her third term could be ambitious and it was, introducing a national education curriculum, the hated poll tax and playing a constructive part in the diplomacy which smoothed the break-up of the Soviet Empire and Soviet Union.

The Journal produced a 16-page supplement and six pages of news coverage and then a further eight pages of news and pictures from the funeral, but concentrating on the local (relatively quiet) reaction to Baroness Thatcher’s passing, including the unveiling of a commemorative rose, a lone protest outside her birthplace, Grantham soldier Sergeant Jason Buffham’s honour to be a bearer of her coffin and a Mr Whippy-style tattoo on Louis Maier’s calf!

Pentangle Engineering was named Journal Business Awards business of the year and the Journal launched a £10,000 Christmas Cracker Appeal – complete with picture of Santa on the front (in April!) – to send 10 seriously-ill children to Lapland for a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

It was a record year for the Belton Horse Trials with more than 15,000 people going through the gates, an increase of 30 per cent. The three-day event at Belton House featured Zara Phillips competing against many London 2012 Olympians. The main event, the Grantham Cup, was won by British-based Italian Vittoria Panizzon.

Ropsley Fox made history by becoming the first Grantham Sunday League team to win the Lincolnshire County Cup in its 47-year history.

The Foxes beat Lincoln’s Ivy Tavern at Sincil Bank, Lincoln, 2-0 with goals from Scott Spearink and Barry Payne, brother of team manager Richard, who said he was “over the moon.”

Kesteven gained promotion for the first time in the rugby club’s 66-year history, but the 1st XV were beaten in their last home game of the season and so missed out on the Midlands League 3 East (North) title.