Margaret Thatcher funeral tributes from friends and collegues at St Paul’s Cathedral
PUBLISHED: 11:10 17 April 2013 | UPDATED: 11:18 17 April 2013
PA Wire/Press Association Images
Friends and former colleagues of Margaret Thatcher have spoken to the Ham&High from outside St Paul’s Cathedral ahead of the former prime minister’s funeral.
The Queen and Prime Minister David Cameron are joined by a number of heads of state and serving prime ministers from around the world at the former Finchley MP’s funeral, organised by Camden funeral directors Leverton & Sons Ltd, due to start at 11am.
Among the 2,300-strong congregation in St Paul’s are a number of figures from across Camden and Barnet invited to the service to mark the passing of Baroness Thatcher, who died last Monday following a stroke.
David Douglas, agent for Hampstead and Kilburn Conservatives, who has been an agent for the party for 26 years and first joined as a Young Conservative in 1982, was honoured to receive an invitation to the funeral.
He said from outside St Paul’s Cathedral: “The atmosphere is just very sombre. There are an awful lot of ladies wearing black hats.
“One thing you do realise is it’s very much like a family funeral, because there’s so many people that you see that you’ve known over more than 30 years. There are an awful lot of MPs and former colleagues from offices that I’ve worked with over 26 years that have worked for the party.
“It’s very moving even before the service starts. Everyone is just remembering the greatest prime minister this country has had since the war.”
Hampstead Garden Suburb councillor John Marshall became friends with Baroness Thatcher in 1979 after his election as a Conservative MEP for London North.
Speaking to the Ham&High before going into St Paul’s, he said: “One sees lots of former colleagues – Geoffrey Howe, Lady Howe, John Gummer, Cecil Parkinson – we are looking slightly older than last time we were all together.
“We have time now to gather our thoughts and think about the service. I think we will all feel very emotional. We are saying goodbye to a wonderful lady who was very thoughtful of others and was a great patriot.
“There are members of the public looking at people going in and I’d heard that one guy had stayed up all night.”
Another former Conservative MEP Stanley Johnson, a Regent’s Park resident, also spoke to the Ham&High from the queue outside St Paul’s.
“We are just standing in the queue, everybody is very well turned out,” he said. “I would say there are 500 people in the queue, there is the whole of the House of Lords and House of Commons here.”
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