‘Margaret Thatcher got her strength from the people of Finchley’

Tessa Phillips.

Tessa Phillips. - Credit: Archant

Tessa Phillips, 72, worked in the Finchley Conservative office for more than 30 years and throughout Margaret Thatcher’s premiership. Ahead of the late politician’s funeral today, Mrs Phillips looks back on her time in the office of the Iron Lady.

“‘It’s from the people of Finchley I get my strength.’

“During the years I worked in the Conservative office in Ballards Lane, Finchley, I often heard Margaret Thatcher say these words.

“I know when she crossed the North Circular Road – then the southern boundary of the constituency – she felt she was coming home back to her Finchley family.

“I was at the door to greet her when she came to the Conservative office about 6pm before she saw constituents, and every time she came it was as though someone had put on a light in a dark room.

“She was friendly and appreciative of everything I did whether it was reception duties for members of the public coming to her surgery or preparing a light supper before leaving for her evening engagements.

“Though as leader her time was limited, every year she would give the office a list of dates she would be in the constituency and, amazingly, with all her other commitments, those dates did not vary.

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“Hardly any event was cancelled and, on the rare occasions they were, they would nearly always be fulfilled later in the year.

“The local press were very important to her and when in Finchley she did everything possible to ensure they got the stories and pictures they needed.

“It was a privilege and honour to have worked for Margaret Thatcher, a woman who was passionately devoted to this country.

“She was guided by a faith in people of all communities and believed in helping those in genuine need.”