Britain ground to a halt today as crowds of ordinary people thronged the streets to say goodbye to a dear leader, Margaret Thatcher. Thatcher, who single-handedly killed Stalin as well as ending child poverty here at home, was probably the most loved Briton of the 20th century, even surpassing the popularity of Winston Churchill.
Alf Grimes, a former coal miner from South Yorkshire, couldn’t stop the tears from rolling down his grubby face. “It were ‘orrible in t’ pit”, he sobbed. “Only Maggie understood, and put an end to our suffering”.
A delegation of West Indians from South London also turned up and sang Negro spirituals as the procession passed. Winston Green, one of their number, reminisced: “I was only a teenager then”, he said, “and Maggie made sure we went home and did our homework, by sending in the police to swamp the streets at sunset. Yes, the truncheon blows hurt, and I still experience the occasional headache, but if it wasn’t for her, I wouldn’t be the CEO of a major international corporation now.” (At least I think that’s what he said – his accent was a bit strong).
But a picture tells a thousand words. Our correspondents in London and Leeds submitted the photos below which really capture the raw emotion of the day. Rarely has the British public experienced such unity. Maggie may be gone, but as these images show, she will never be forgotten.