December 31, 2022 12.00 pm This story is over 16 months old

Flashback 2022: Margaret Thatcher’s statue divides her home town

Former PM came home to Grantham, but not everyone was happy to see her

The lady is not for turning — however, she did get egged and graffitied a bit.

The ten-foot-tall statue of Baroness Margaret Thatcher received a mixed reception in her hometown of Grantham this year.

The tribute to Lincolnshire’s only Prime Minister appeared with little fanfare in May (made of bronze, not iron.)

It had cost £300,000, raised by the Grantham Community Heritage Association, and created by sculptor Douglas Jennings.

Grantham’s Conservative leaders said the statue was a “fitting tribute” to the Iron Lady, whose father was a greengrocer in the town.

But if they hoped that people would overlook her politics to appreciate the artwork, they were disappointed.

An egg-thrower was caught on film. | Image: Twitter @DesignsBarnes

Within hours of it being lowered into place, a man was caught on camera hurling an egg at the statue. The police took this seriously as an act of criminal damage.

The culprit was named as Jeremy Webster, 59, a university arts chief, and he was fined £90 for the act.

Shortly after, the words ‘TORIES OUT’ were spray painted over the granite plinth, and a Communist hammer and sickle was put on the fence.

Red, white and blue paint was also splashed on it, which council cleaners attempted to scrub off minutes later.

Pictures circulated the Internet in which an adult toy had been Photoshopped onto the statue, although this was confirmed to be a hoax.

Labour Councillor Lee Steptoe claimed the putting up the statue a mistake, saying: “Sadly like her, the statue will now bitterly divide Grantham and the nation.”

The communist symbol was spray-painted on the former Conservative Prime Minister

Soon, Grantham residents had had enough of the vandalism.

Andrea Hancock said: “The vandalism has been shameful. People caught doing it deserve everything they get. Mrs Thatcher was a formidable woman, and we need to remember remarkable people like her.”

Another man said he didn’t care about politics, but wasn’t happy with taxpayers picking up the bill for constantly cleaning it.

A low-profile opening ceremony was held weeks later, with some councillors remarking their invitations had been “lost in the post”.

Today, you can still see curious visitors taking pictures of it, but no egg-throwing protesters.

Mrs Thatcher may not had faded in controversy, but her statue seems to have simply become part of the scenery in Grantham now.

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