PM given a welcome fit for a queen
Royalty would not have received a more rapturous reception than Margaret Thatcher when she returned to Finchley on Saturday.
The Party faithful flocked in their hundreds to wish their heroine well as she celebrated 25 years in Parliament.
The shadow of the Brighton bombing a week before could not quite be shaken off and security was tight at St Michael's Convent School, Nether Street.
“I'd rather be in a school than a hotel,” Mrs Thatcher commented wryly as she greeted celebrities pop star Lynsey de Paul, disc jockey Dave Cash, jockey Bob Champion, soccer star Emlyn Hughes and swimmer Sharon Davies.
When she entered the main hall, over half-an-hour late, the waiting crowd rose to their feet, cheering, clapping and stamping their appreciation.
With Dennis Thatcher in tow, Mrs Thatcher waved regally to her fans and greeted many of them before tucking into the cold buffet dinner served on disposable plates.
The pre-dinner entertainment was provided by Ted Rogers who hosts the TV game show “3–2–1.”
After dinner celebrities assembled on the stage for the drawing of the raffle. First prize of a bottle of whisky, with a label signed by Mrs Thatcher, was won by a member of the organising committee who offered it back to be auctioned.
A £500 bid from Laurie Chivers secured the bottle and Mrs Thatcher quickly signed a second label. That bottle went for £300 to Barnet's Mayor Leslie Sussman.
Second and third prizes were a cassette radio and a clock.
The raffle and auctions raised £1,665 which will go to the Mayor's charity, John Grooms Association for the Disabled.
Following a tribute to Mrs Thatcher by Mrs Ena Constable, the first woman councillor on the former Friern Barnet Council, guests gave a hearty rendition of “For she's a jolly good fellow” and then were led by Lynsey de Paul at the piano singing “Happy Anniversary to You.”
Cr. Sussman then presented Mrs Thatcher with a silver bowl inscribed to mark the occasion.
When she came to spea dressed in black and looking tired, Mrs Thatcher could not help but mention the attack on the Grand Hotel, Brighton that nearly took her life.
“We suffered a tragedy not one of us could have thought would happen in our country,” she said. “And we picked ourselves up and sorted ourselves out as all good British people do, and I thought, let us stand together for we are British!
“They were trying to destroy the fundamental freedom that is the birth-right of every British citizen, freedom, justice and democracy,” she said.
She went on to say that no country can survive in freedom unless it is well defended and America is Britain's greatest ally.
She could not resist a swipe at the miners, saying freedom can only survive if everyone respects the law, regardless of whether or not they agree with it.
“Sometimes now with the strike I wonder quite what will happen,” she said.
Mrs Thatcher ended her speech by quoting from Hamlet saying the people of Finchley were bound together by hoops of steel. She thanked those present for putting her where she is: “It's the only job I ever want to do,” she said.
The audience were on their feet in rapturous applause. Mrs Thatcher left the hall to the synthesised strains of “Land of Hope and Glory.” … .