London: One of Britain`s most well-known female politicians, former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, is to finally get a statue in her honour at her birthplace of Grantham in Lincolnshire county.
The project is part of a 200,000-pound fundraising initiative and will include the renovation of a museum dedicated to the former Conservative Prime Minister, who was born in the eastern England county.
The statue to be housed at Grantham Museum has been the subject of much debate and discussion over the years, with its manager Jayne Robb being suspended last month for suggesting that an already existing marble statue was to be used.
The Grantham Community Heritage Association (GCHA) claims it has massive support from the local community for a brand new life-sized statue that will be surrounded by interactive exhibitions dedicated to Baroness Thatcher.
"Whether you agree with her politics or not, she remains one of Grantham`s most famous exports. Margaret Thatcher remains one of the UK`s most important political figures. Her connection with Grantham is evident in her biographies and in recognition of her association with
Grantham, the board of trustees believe that a statue in the museum is fitting," a GCHA spokesperson said.
Proposals include allowing visitors to film themselves reading her speeches and well-known quotations from a replica House of Commons despatch box.
At least 50p of every pound raised will go towards renovating the museum and associated Thatcher exhibits, the spokesperson added.
Museum staff are also aiming to liaise with the former prime minister and her family on the project, which they describe as a "long overdue" initiative.
In 2002, a white marble statue, unveiled by Thatcher herself, was decapitated at Guildhall Art Gallery in London, but later restored and put in storage in the Houses of Parliament.
Thatcher is commemorated only with a small plaque outside her father`s former grocery shop in Grantham and with some exhibits inside Grantham Museum.
The 87-year-old former PM has suffered from ill health in recent years and after a series of minor strokes in 2002 was advised by doctors to stop making public speeches.
Thatcher is the longest-serving (1979-1990) Prime Minister of the United Kingdom in the 20th century, and the only woman ever to have held the post.
A Soviet journalist nicknamed her the "Iron Lady", which became associated with her uncompromising politics and leadership style. As Prime Minister, she implemented Conservative policies that are now known as Thatcherism.
"The Iron Lady" is also the title of last year`s movie known for Meryl Streep`s Oscar-winning portrayal of Thatcher.