Horsham District councillors have been sharing their memories and tributes to Margaret Thatcher this week.
Peter Burgess (Con, Holbrook West) described her as ‘a great lady’ giving these memories of the former Prime Minster who passed away on Monday April 8 after a series of strokes.
He said: “During the 1980’s I was a naval pilot serving with the VIP 32 (TR) Squadron Royal Air Force. I flew Lady Thatcher on a number of occasions.
“My thoughts: Bravery - Flying to Enniskillen to attend the rescheduled service of remembrance after the devastating bomb attack a couple of weeks earlier. Her standing in the rain, rigidly upright and returning, cold and wet, but undaunted in support of local people.
“Compassion - Returning to the aircraft after visiting relatives of the Piper Alpha and Manchester air disasters; filled with concern and a deep desire to help.
“Companionship - Boarding the aircraft at Northolt in very heavy rain, on her way to Austria for a well-earned holiday. Coming into the flight deck to chat, laughing and happy. Then being pushed firmly out of the way by her husband saying, ‘move over Margaret it’s pouring (rephrased!) down out here’. Her, immediately contrite, apologising affectionately.
“Practicality - On a crowded aircraft and on a tight timescale, regularly helping the stewardess serve meals, collecting plates and glasses afterwards.
“Humour - A party at Number 10, not warm wine and Twiglets, but real food and drink! Talking to her and her husband with a fellow pilot whose empty glass was just being returned, half refilled.
“Mr Thatcher saying jovially to the waitress, ‘This is a naval officer my dear, that is not a drink,’ and insisting it was filled up. Lady Thatcher bursting into helpless laughter.”
Leader of the council Ray Dawe (Con, Chantry) said: “There is no doubt in my mind that Lady Thatcher was the defining politician of the second half of the twentieth century.
“Before she came to power this country was rocked by constant strikes and a loss of self belief. Many may criticise her methods and even strongly dislike her but she was a leader who had the people’s confidence enough to give her three general election wins in a row.
“Under her leadership the Britain that emerged into the 1990s was one that had rediscovered its confidence and believed that the future could be a bright and optimistic one. I do not believe this was just luck and it would not have been achieved without Lady Thatcher’s determined leadership.”
Roger Arthur (UKIP, Chanctonbury) said: “The Iron Lady was undoubtedly one of the greatest peacetime Prime Ministers.
“Many who may not have liked her directness and steadfastness, respected her. She was in politics to do her best for the British people and we may not see her like again, for sometime.”
Christian Mitchell (Con, Holbrook), Laurence Deakins (Con, Denne) and Liz Kitchen (Con, Rusper and Colgate) shared their tributes earlier this week. Click on the link below to read their comments.