Falklands : FALKLANDS SAY FAREWELL TO IRON LADY
Submitted by Falkland Islands News Network (Juanita Brock) 20.04.2013 (Article Archived on 18.05.2013)
A memorial service to commemorate the life of Margaret Hilda Roberts Thatcher, Baroness and former prime Minister of the United Kingdom was held at Christ Church Cathedral at 1400hrs on Wednesday, 17 April 2013. Photo:(c) J. Brock (FINN)
FALKLANDS SAY FAREWELL TO IRON LADY
In a special moment at Fox Bay Village in 1992 Baroness Thatcher and the late Shirley Knight shared a word about a specially decorated cake in honour of her visit to the Village. Photo (c) J. Brock (FINN)
A memorial service to commemorate
the life of Margaret Hilda Roberts Thatcher, Baroness and former prime Minister
of the United Kingdom was held at Christ Church Cathedral at 1400hrs on Wednesday,
17 April 2013.
Words of welcome were given by Dr
the Rev Richard Hines, Priest in Charge of the Cathedral. The hymn, “He Who Would Valliant Be,”
followed the welcome.
Ian Hansen’s Remarks at Margaret
Thatcher’s memorial Service:
the many tributes in the UK Press last week it was said that Margaret Thatcher
was one of the very few leaders who changed not only the political landscape of
her own country, but the rest of the world, too. In the case of the Falkland islands, this
could not be truer.
the sad news of her passing, flags have flown at half-mast across the Falkland
Islands and it is only right that today is made a public holiday, both as a
mark of respect and to allow the community to pay tribute to a woman who is held
in such high regard and with such deep affection in our Islands.
status afforded her here is understandable, giving her unfailing interest in
the well-being of the Falklands, the Islanders, and in particular, our young
last week’s tributes in the House of Commons it was said ‘Margaret Thatcher’s
ability to overcome every obstacle in her path is just one measure of her
personal strength.’ And never was her
strength demonstrated more clearly than in the rapid assembling of the Task Force
and subsequent liberation of our country following the Argentine invasion in
sending the task force it has been debated as to whether she was unique in her
decision making or whether she only did what any leader in her position would
have done. This is irrelevant. What is clear is that it was a decision that
was not universally supported by her colleagues; and neither would it have an
easy decision to send her brave men and women of Britain’s armed forces into
the Argentine invasion we were not sure what the reaction of the British
Government would be. Then we heard
Margaret Thatcher say in the House of Commons on April 3rd 1982:
‘they are few in number but they have the right to live in peace, to choose
their own way of life and to determine their own allegiance.’
made clear perhaps before many had thoughts to consider it, that we had the
right to determine our own future. She
often said that she was not a consensus politician but a conviction politician. And last week the Deputy Prime Minister
observed that she seemed blissfully indifferent to the popularity of what she
said – entirely driven instead by the conviction of what she said.
the case of the Falklands her conviction of standing up for justice and freedom
was the right thing to do may have made her difficult decisions easier. We must give thanks for that conviction and
for her strength of character. Because
of her courage and the skill, bravery and sacrifice of Britain’s Armed Forces
our liberty and our future are secure.
Thatcher’s legacy in our Islands goes much further than our liberation. She made the UK’s position on the Falklands
very clear. There would be no
negotiation over the Falkland Islands unless and until the islanders wished
it. This has ensured that subsequent
British Governments regardless of political affiliation have publicly
reaffirmed the right of Falkland Islanders to determine their own future. More than 30 years on, the support of the
current British Government could not be stronger.
1983 British Nationality (Falkland Islands) Act is another important part of
her legacy for the Falkland Islands Community.
It granted full British Citizenship to Falkland islanders, who were
previously classed as British Dependent Territories Citizens. This reinforced our link with the UK, giving
us full rights as British Nationals.
week we have heard many personal memories that demonstrate the unique
relationship that she had with us and that we had with her. During her two visits to the Islands she was
greeted as a friend. On her first visit
in 1983, she became the first person to be honoured with ‘the Freedom of the
Falkland Islands,’ a fitting tribute to the person who secured for us that very
right. She remains to this day the only
person to have received this recognition.
this recognition from the Then Financial Secretary the late Harold Rowlands,
Mrs Thatcher said that it was the most marvellous honour that could have been
conferred on her. At the end of her
speech Harold Rowlands called for 3 cheers for the lady who he described as the
incomparable Margaret Thatcher.
three cheers and quite a few more besides were duly delivered with incomparable
1992, as with her first visit, people lined the streets to welcome her and it
was important at the time that wherever she went, either in Camp or in town,
everyone was there. Everyone joined in
and there are many stories of people greeting on the streets and smiles and
Thatcher’s relationship with our Islands was clearly a very personal one. Here she could show the human side that she
perhaps could not show at home or elsewhere.
During her trips she travelled widely throughout the Islands. And it was during a visit to Fox Bay, that
the late Shirley Knight, with a rare display of nerves took to the podium to
deliver a speech, thanking Mrs Thatcher for all she achieved on the islanders’
behalf. It was when Shirley attempted to
express regret for those lives lost in liberating our islands that she
understandably became overcome with emotion and was unable to continue. Mrs Thatcher made her way to Shirley’s side,
consoled her with a hug and encouraged her to continue. And there wasn’t a dry eye in the house as
the two mothers shared their sorrow at what had come before.
visiting Goose Green, a young girl had a posy to present to lady Thatcher but
overcome by the occasion and the overwhelming presence of the visiting press,
the young girl passed the flowers back to her mother. Mrs Thatcher saw the problem, shooed the
press away and gave the little girl time to adjust to the excitement before the
presentation was made as planned.
were privileged to hear Mrs Thatcher deliver several inspiring speeches aimed
at motivating the population to develop not only the Islands but also to strive
for personal aspirations. She was
successful in both areas. Together we
have created an economy and a society that many could not even have imagined 30
Thatcher took a particular interest in the future of our young people. For over two decades students at the
Community School have competed for the Margaret Thatcher Trophy awarded for
services to the School. Baroness
Thatcher personally donated the trophy saying that it would serve as a reminder
that we, who had been given so much by those who fought for us have to give
this day, our strong sense of community is perhaps an example of how we hold to
over the speeches she made here over 20 years ago, I was struck to read the
‘As you look around you now, I
hope you will all consider that full advantage has been taken of that freedom
regained and since guaranteed to these islands.so that we can develop them in a
worthy way, an attractive and imaginative way, combining modern infrastructure
and its advantages with the Islands’ qualities and freedom of lifestyle,
independence of mind and that practical ability to turn a hand to a wide
variety of tasks without relying on someone else.’
words are just as true today as they were then.
Today’s modern Falkland Islands is forward looking, internally
self-governing and financially self- sufficient. There is perhaps no better legacy to a prime
Minister who was not afraid to stand up to freedom and justice than the people
and the community she allowed us to come.
thing is certain – in the Falkland islands her memory will never be forgotten -
Margaret Thatcher – a great woman – a great leader – a great friend.
Amy Gilding and Sorrel
Pompert-Robertson read from Ephesians 6:11 about the full armour of God and Dr
the Rev Richard Hines gave a homily expounding on anecdotes and experiences Mrs
Thatcher had when visiting the Falklands as well as relevant decisions made
while she was in the UK. The Homily was
followed by the Hymn, “Love Devine All Loves Excelling.”
Bidding Prayers were read by
Monsignor Michael B McPartland, Prefect Apostolic of the Roman Catholic Church
in the South Atlantic and Miss Jackie Earnshaw, leader of the Tabernacle Free
After singing the Hymn “I Vow to
Thee My Country,” Dr the Rev Hines gave a final blessing.