NOSTALGIA: The day Margaret Thatcher came to Padiham

Margaret Thatcher during her visit to Padiham in 1979.

Margaret Thatcher during her visit to Padiham in 1979.

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“An inspiration to all women” was the eulogy given to former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher by Burnley Conservatives leader Ida Carmichael.

Baroness Thatcher, who died on Monday from a stroke aged 87, has polarised opinion in death as in life.

VISIT: Perseverance Mill, Padiham, which Margaret Thatcher visited in 1979 (S)

VISIT: Perseverance Mill, Padiham, which Margaret Thatcher visited in 1979 (S)

Coun. Carmichael said: “Mrs Thatcher was an inspiration to people like me. I first became interested in politics in 1983 when she was Prime Minister.

“Believe it or not, my father and brothers were miners in St Helens and so were not overjoyed when I became a Conservative councillor.

But it was that kind of strength of personality that attracted me – she set her sights on something and would not be swayed.

“I think her greatest legacy was twofold. She was the nation’s first woman Prime Minister and also broke the stranglehold of the unions in the 1980s.”

Mrs Thatcher visited Padiham’s Perseverance Mill in February, 1979, three months before she became Prime Minister.

While there, she chatted with workers and met children from Ivy Bank High School, going on to tour the Ribble Valley constituency in support of Tory by-election candidate David Waddington.

A divisive figure even then, Mrs Thatcher managed to avoid employees at the mill who had prominently wore bright yellow badges supporting Labour candidate Lindsay Sutton.