Margaret Thatcher statue egged within hours of being installed in home town

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A statue of Margaret Thatcher has been egged less than two hours after it was installed in her home town.

A protester threw eggs from behind a temporary fence surrounding the memorial.

The statue was lowered into place in Grantham, Lincolnshire, amid previous threats of “egg throwing”.

In February 2019, a planning committee unanimously voted in favour of the £300k statue. It was originally intended for Parliament Square in Westminster.

“Coal not dole”

Despite its unveiling being delayed due to the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic, the statue was erected on a 10ft-high granite plinth on the morning of Sunday 15 May.

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Reports originally presented to South Kesteven District Council showed the statue was moved to the area due to fears of a “motivated far-left movement… who may be committed to public activism”.

A man in a white T-shirt was seen holding an egg carton in one hand and preparing to throw an egg from the other on Sunday.

Another man arrived wearing a t-shirt displaying the words “coal not dole”. This was the slogan of workers striking against Thatcher’s closure of coal mines in 1984-85. The closures resulted in the loss of tens of thousands of jobs and wrought lasting economic devastation on mining communities.

The council approved a £100k unveiling ceremony in 2020. Following this, a Facebook group proposing an “egg-throwing contest” at the event attracted interest from more than 13,000 people.

Around 2,400 others visited the Facebook page to say they would go to the event including “egg throwing … and potentially graffiti art”.

The contents of a thrown egg drip down the newly installed statue of Baroness Margaret Thatcher (Joe Giddens/PA)
The contents of a thrown egg drip down the newly-installed statue of Baroness Margaret Thatcher (Joe Giddens/PA)

A CCTV camera has been installed directly opposite the memorial to attempt to combat any threats of vandalism, the council said.

Egg residue and a piece of shell could be seen on the statue’s lower half.

Police turned up at the scene within minutes of the incident.

Council response

A council spokesperson said the Public Memorials Appeal, which funded the monument through donations, will host an official unveiling ceremony at a later date.

Leader of South Kesteven District Council Kelham Cooke said:

Margaret Thatcher will always be a significant part of Grantham’s heritage. She and her family have close ties with Grantham. She was born, raised and went to school here.

It is, therefore, appropriate that she is commemorated by her home town and that the debate that surrounds her legacy takes place here in Grantham.

We must never hide from our history and this memorial will be a talking point for generations to come.

The statue, standing at just over 20ft high, is situated in between two existing statues of Isaac Newton and Frederick Tollemache in the town’s Civic Quarter.

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