Margaret Thatcher’s funeral organised by Horsham MP Francis Maude’s cabinet office is taking place today (Wednesday).
Mr Maude, who served in Baroness Thatcher’s cabinet in the 1980s, has been involved in the planning of her funeral for the past four years.
A procession will lead the former Prime Minister’s coffin from the Palace of Westminster to St Paul’s Cathedral where a full ceremonial funeral will take place.
Mr Maude told the County Times that he hoped it would be a worthy tribute to Baroness Thatcher.
“A lot of thought has gone into this and a lot of people have worked really hard to make it a success,” he said.
“I was very touched by the decision the speaker made that the bells of Big Ben should be stilled during the period of the funeral.
“That was a very generous gesture that I know the family very much appreciated.” Reflecting on his a association with the former Prime Minister he remembered the ‘vigorous debates’ as well as her ‘great personal kindness’.
This was especially apparent when one of Mr Maude’s children was critically ill and Baroness Thatcher showed particular interest he said.
“She was just very thoughtful and considerate,” added Mr Maude. “A private person very much at odds with her public image.”
In terms of her legacy he said: “She changed the country, she saved it.
“She made British people believe in Britain again and believe that we are a great country that can achieve great things.”
In respect of the much discussed cost of the funeral, Mr Maude said the figure of £10 million being banded around by national media was ‘completely fanciful’.
“It will be a fraction of that,” he said.