I was too young to understand about politics when Margaret Thatcher was the PM, and to be honest I don’t really understand it now. I remember growing up hearing a lot about Maggie Thatcher, some loved her and some loathed her, I never really gave her too much thought. But all that changed after coming to the Falklands. Here her decision to act and re-take the Islands from Argentina in 1982 is still very much remembered and among Falkland Islanders she is a respected and revered lady who stood by them when their world had been turned upside down.
It’s not surprising then that the news of her death has had a major impact here. Today, the day of her funeral, was declared a public holiday. People got up early despite the time difference to watch her funeral on TV and later hundreds of people went to the cathedral to pay their respects to the first lady.
We arrived at the cathedral a good twenty minutes before the service was due to start and already the cathedral was full. For a minute I thought that the lady ushering us through to an adjoining room had taken one look at us and the kids and decided we were too noisy for the service, but after a few more minutes when others followed us in I realised that we were just unlucky enough to arrive as the last seat was taken. The overflow room soon filled up too and the service began. The children sat quietly for the first twenty minutes before the fidgets began and demands for the toilet, drinks and snacks.
After the service we spilled outside to a beautiful sunny and still afternoon. We took a walk through Stanley, spending a while on Victory green before wondering down to Thatcher Drive where the road sign has become an impromptu memorial to Margaret Thatcher.
It’s strange that if we were in the UK today, we would have probably watched the service on TV but that would have been it. Here, 8000 miles away, you get a sense of the Islands isolation and can only imagine what it must have been like to wake up one morning to find that the Islands had fallen under Argentine rule. So although I have never given too much thought to Maggie Thatcher before, if it wasn’t for her perhaps we wouldn’t be enjoying these amazing Islands today.