A bronze statue of the country’s first female Prime Minister, The Rt Hon Baroness Thatcher of Kesteven LG, could be erected in Grantham if agreement can be reached between a number of organisations, it has been announced.
Grantham Community Heritage Association (GCHA), which runs the Grantham Museum, and South Kesteven District Council are currently in discussion with The Public Memorials Appeal, which commissioned the 10.5ft high bronze statue of the late Prime Minister.
The organisations say that the statue would not only be a fitting tribute to a unique political figure, but that it could provide a welcome boost to the town’s economy from visitors on both sides of the debate who come to find out more about her legacy.
Margaret Thatcher (nee Roberts) was born and raised in Grantham and attended a local grammar, Kesteven and Grantham Girls’ School, before gaining a scholarship to study at Oxford University. Her father Alfred, a grocer, was Mayor from 1945 to 1946. She entered the House of Lords in 1992.
The Grantham Community Heritage Association, a volunteer-run Educational Charity, launched a project to raise funds for a statue in 2012, with a proportion of each donation going towards funding the educational work of the Grantham Museum. It is hoped that this and future fundraising will help secure the future of the Grantham Museum, which houses a permanent Margaret Thatcher exhibition.
Margaret Thatcher was Prime Minister from 1979 to 1990. Five years on from her death in April 2013, Lady Thatcher’s social and economic legacy continues to divide opinion, with strong feelings on both sides of the political divide.
The three organisations are currently drafting outline terms of an agreement. Formal proposals are expected to be submitted to the South Kesteven District Council Development Management Committee, where councillors will consider the application, before the end of the year.
Commenting on the proposal, David Burling, Project Director at Grantham Museum, said: “The debate about Margaret Thatcher’s legacy looks set to continue for generations to come. We want Grantham to be where that debate happens and where visitors can come to find all the facts about the UK’s first female Prime Minister.”
A spokesperson for The Public Memorials Appeal said: “We are delighted to offer the statue to Grantham on behalf of the people that have donated towards its creation, both here in Grantham and via The Public Memorials Appeal. It is a stunning statue and I think it would be absolutely fitting for it to come to Grantham. I very much hope we can make it happen.”
The Leader of South Kesteven District Council, Councillor Matthew Lee, said: “Margaret Thatcher was undoubtedly an enormous political figure both nationally and internationally and deserves to be recognised. I respect both sides of the argument, but whichever side you are on, I hope we can all agree that this could be very good news for Grantham’s local economy.”
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