Thatcher in pictures - Former prime minister’s visit to Woodford Green ahead of 1997 election

PUBLISHED: 14:23 08 April 2013 | UPDATED: 15:29 08 April 2013

Margaret Thatcher met Tory party workers ahead of the 1997 general election

Margaret Thatcher met Tory party workers ahead of the 1997 general election


Following the death of Baroness Margaret Thatcher this morning, thoughts in Redbridge have quickly turned to a visit the former prime minister made to the borough.

Margaret Thatcher talks to 12-year-old Michael, son of Reg WodaMargaret Thatcher talks to 12-year-old Michael, son of Reg Woda

In April 1997, the Conservative prime minister from 1979 to 1990, paid a visit to Redbridge-based Tory party workers in Woodford Green.

Click on our gallery above to see images from the day.

Ahead of the General Election the following month, Baroness Thatcher met the incumbent MP for Chingford and Woodford Green, Iain Duncan Smith.

Despite the Labour victory in the election, Mr Duncan Smith retained the seat he holds to this day and he was among public figures in the borough to pay tribute to the Iron Lady this afternoon.

Cllr Jim O’Shea, a Conservative councillor for Monkhams ward, was at the meeting at Sir James Hawkey Hall in Broomhill Road and recalled the “very good reception” she received.

He said: “She was the best prime minister we’ve had since [Sir Winston] Churchill.

“It’s a very sad day. She was ill for some time, she clearly wasn’t well. I think it gives us a chance to reflect on what a good job she did in turning the economy around.

“She negotiated properly with the unions. Instead of being the sick man of Europe, she got the economy moving.”

Cllr O’Shea said there was a small gathering of about 30 people.

As the Recorder reported at the time, the audience included a 12-year-old fan of Thatcher’s called Michael Woda.

He spoke of how delighted he was to meet the former leader with his father Reg, a former Ilford town centre manager, though her prediction to the Recorder that the “common sense policies” of John Major would win the election didn’t come to pass.

Cllr Paul Canal, a Conservative councillor for Bridge ward, tweeted this afternoon: “Desperately sad to learn of Lady Margaret Thatcher’s death. Her achievements were immense. Condolences to family and friends.”

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