Eyes of the nation Focus on Finchley
The Eyes and ears of the nation were on Finchley on Friday afternoon as General Election date fever reached its peak.
For Prime Minister Mrs. Margaret Thatcher chose to visit her constituency soon after local election results had convinced the media an announcement was imminent.
She was met by television crews and a battery of photographers and reporters at her first port of call—Annette White Lodge, in High Road, East Finchley.
The moment the Prime Minister left her car she was beseiged by the media who tried to draw a date from her.
And there was no respite inside the Lodge which provides sheltered for the active elderly.
As she enjoyed a drink and a biscuit with residents one reporter cracked “Are there any dates on it?” And so it went on.
Her next stop was the inaugural meeting of the Barnet Crossroads Scheme which was held in the communal lounge.
The pilot scheme will operate in Colindale, Golders Green and Cricklewood, but will cover the rest of the borough if finance is made available.
It aims to relieve the stress on people caring for a disabled relative of any age.
The Prime Minister said the disabled need special care in order to develop their own talents and abilities.
Of those who look after the disabled she said: “It helps them tremendously to think they can look forward to a fortnight or a month when they can go away by themselves.
“But they can only do that if they know their loved oned are being looked after competently.”
Mrs. Thatcher thought that giving people and the giving of interest was essential to a happy society.
“We are going to need more and more people who are voluntarily giving their time to others in this town and everywhere else.”
The Prime Minister then chatted to those at the meeting before leaving for McDonald's United Kingdom headquarters, in High Road, East Finchley.
Mrs. Thatcher visited the staff restaurant—a mini version of one of the hamburger chain's stores—and was presented with a motif of the company's Golden Arches Symbol.
After a cup of coffee Mrs Thatcher saw a “Big Mac” being made which she described as “absolutely enormous” and doubted how anyone could hold it in one hand.
As she left the building, the Prime Minister was presented with a bouquet by personell officer Mrs. Carmel Flatley, of Dartmouth Road, Hendon.
She visited the Picture Factory, in Hutton Grove, North Finchley, where her guide was Mr. Tom Jones, managing director of the parent company, Sudbury Jones.
After watching frames being made, the Premier visited the gallery where she was presented with a print, “Battle Ready,” by Mr. Gerald Tucker a proffesional marine artist of Mill Hill.
The picture shows HMS Hermes and a harrier jump jet on their way to the Falklands.
Mr. Tucker, of Rolands Close, used pictures from Flight magazine and visited Portsmouth to see Hermes.
On the back of the painting is a tribute to Mrs. Thatcher.
He said: “Under the brilliant leadership of our Prime Minister, Mrs. Margaret Thatcher, we won the day and she won the hearts of a nation and the deep respect of the free world.”
Her next port of call was The Cane Place, in Ballards Lane, Church End Finchley, where she opened a new shop specialising in a range of furniture, basketware and novelty gift items in cane, bamboo, willow or rattas. [end p1]
She was shown around by the owner, Mr. Martin Harman.
The afternoon's tour ended with a visit to Telefruits specialists inpresentation fruit baskets, top quality fruit and fresh fruit salads.
Mrs. Thatcher heard of the company and asked for a meeting with the three entrepreneurs who formed Telefruit, managing director Pravin Shah; publicity and advertising director Bonita Fisen and business director Terry Bristow.
She was presented with the company's De-lux Fruit Bubble, a perspex capsulated basket packed with a wide range of fruit.
After being told customers could phone through with their orders the Prime Minister said she thought the company would do a very good hospital trade.
The company's offices are in Regent's Park Road, Church End Finchley, but there are plans to open a chain of shops this year.
In the evening, Mrs. Thatcher attended a cocktall party staged by the Finchley and Friern Barnet Conservative Association to celebrate their 60th anniversary.
She cut the first slice of a huge cake baked to celebrate the Diamond Jubilee and then spoke to her supporters.
She said the anniversary recognised the great continuity of the Conservative Party which she said had a long and wonderful history and would enjoy a long and glorious future.
Of the individual's contribution Mrs. Thatcher said: “We don't look into people's backgrounds. What matters is what each of us can contribute to the society of which we are a party.
“Everyone, but everyone, has something to give. Everyone is involved in our society and can make some contribution towards it”