‘The greatest honour is representing this borough’
GLITTERING BALL ENDS M.P.'s FIRST DECADE
The people of Finchley and Friern Barnet paid tribute to Mrs. Margaret Thatcher on Saturday at a glittering anniversary ball held at the Royal Lancaster Hotel to celebrate her first decade as Finchley's Member of Parliament.
As guest of honour, Mrs. Thatcher, accompanied by her husband, Mr. Denis Thatcher, was greeted at the ball by her many friends.
They included representatives of the many organisations with which she is connected, members of Barnet Council and colleagues from the Finchley and Friern Barnet Conservative Association.
Tribute was paid to Mrs. Thatcher by the Mayor of Barnet Cr. Vic Usher. He said it was an honour to be mayor during the anniversary celebrations, and said, “We have come to pay tribute, homage and say ‘Thank you’.”
Whenever Mrs. Thatcher was called upon by her constituents her services were given readily and freely. She has worked so hard for the burghers of this town, he said. The greatest tribute that could be paid to Margaret Thatcher was the very fact that people from all walks of life and all sections of the community were gathered at the anniversary ball.
In reply Mrs. Thatcher thanked the mayor for the “delightful things” he had said. Looking back over her 10 years as M.P., Mrs. Thatcher said there had been many changes but some things remained the same.
Referring to some of the local organisations represented at the ball. Mrs. Thatcher commented that the Rotary Club members were the same “scallywags” they were 10 years ago, while the Finchley and Whetstone Chamber of Commerce were still giving the same excellent service.
“Finchley Chrysanthemum Society are producing bigger and better blooms while the Zionist Society always give me a great time,” she said.
Mrs. Thatcher then turned to the events of the past decade. In 1961 the first person went into space and 10 years ago our first application to join the Common Market was just going in.
South Africa was part of the Commonwealth and Eisenhower was president of the United States.
Ten years ago the pound was worth 2.8 dollars and the Bank Rate reached the astonishingly high figure of five per cent. Incomes policy had not been invented and the S.E.T. was a figment of an Hungarian imagination.
In 1959 we had not heard of the Beatles or David Frost, there was no permissive society and no hippies.
Some things, however, have not changed, said Mrs. Thatcher. “Right is still right and wrong is wrong.
“Communications have so improved that we are now so busy commenting on why a thing has happened we do not see some of the good things that happen. It is the good news which should be broadcast, and in Finchley there is a lot of good news,” said Mrs. Thatcher.
“There is more voluntary work carried out in Finchley than I have seen anywhere in the world and there are more people whose standards are high.” she said, concluding: “The greatest honour is representing this borough through the agency of the ballot box. I never realised how important this was before I went to Moscow.” (Mrs. Thatcher spent 10 days in Moscow during September as a guest of the Soviet Praesidium.)
To commemorate the occasion Mrs. Thatcher was presented with a silver salver by Mrs. Susan Thurlow, one of the organisers of the ball. A raffle held during the evening raised £50 for the mayor's charity.