'Relief ' as Margaret Thatcher statue is finally put on its plinth
The man behind the fundraising for the Margaret Thatcher statue, which was put up on Sunday morning in St Peter's Hill, says it is a relief that it has finally been put on its plinth.
Ivan Saxton, who founded the Public Memorials Appeal in 2002 which raised the money for the statue, originally hoped that it would be put up in Parliament Square in London.
Mr Saxton said he thought at first it would a 'walkover' to get it put up in Parliament Square, but he said there were a number of hurdles to get over to get the statue put up in London. He thought permission would be given by the Conservative Westminster City Council, but it wasn't. He added that Boris Johnson would not permit it when he was Mayor of London because Baroness Thatcher's family had not given their permission.
Mr Saxton added: "What they will say now I don't know. It's done and thankfully South Kesteven council did not go against it."
Mr Saxton said he was happy to see the statue put up in Grantham. He said: "It's her natural home. It wasn't where I intended it to originally go and it's amazing who they do give permission to, to put up statues in Parliament Square. I was disappointed originally because people gave money to it expecting it to be in London.
"It's a very good likeness. If you look at some of the statues in London that have gone up, you scratch your head and wonder who it's for."
Melissa Hatcher was a pupil of Kesteven and Grantham Girls' School when Baroness Thatcher visited in the 1980s. She remembered it being an exciting day as the Prime Minister, and former KGGS pupil, arrived in a helicopter on the school playing field accompanied by armed guards.
Asked about the statue, she said: "I think it's a very controversial thing to do because everyone knows it splits this whole town. But it's not today's politics, it's historical politics. Is it good, is it bad? It's definitely got people talking and I think maybe that's a good thing to have a dialogue in the town.
"We didn't really know about the politics at the time. I was at an age when politics wasn't of any interest to me. It was more about this strong female figure, seeing somebody who you had seen on the news. It was the excitement of seeing somebody famous come into town. I remember when Diana came to plant the tree in town. I wasn't there then, but it was a time when you wanted those female role models."
Melissa said she could not remember the full context of Baroness Thatcher's speech, but could remember it being "inspirational".
The statue was soon attacked on Sunday morning when it was egged by a protester soon after its installation.
South Kesteven District Council has avoided a full unveiling ceremony, but says it will be officially unveiled by the Public Memorials Appeal at a later date.