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Margaret Thatcher Leaves Mark on Western Mass

THATCHER DIESLONGMEADOW, Mass. (WGGB) –When Margaret Thatcher came to Western Mass in June 1998, it was for a tea at Bay Path College with 500 students and community members

President Carol Leary was anxious to see her. “It was a time when obviously, I was very nervous to meet the Iron Lady. Think of the name and reputation that was given to her, and I’ll never forget greeting her at Westover Air Reserve Base and she was immediately a woman who gave the impression of being strong but warm at the same time. So she put me immediately at ease,” she recalled.

Thatcher made history not only as Britain’s first female prime minister, but as one of the longest serving Prime Ministers.

During her 11 year rule, she earned the nickname “Iron Lady” for her political toughness,

From reshaping Britain’s economy to her role in helping President Ronald Reagan end the Cold War.

However, Thatcher’s ’98 visit to Western Mass was her very first time in this part of the state, but it wouldn’t be the last Leary and Thatcher saw of each other. “She said, when you’re in London, give me a call. Believe it or not, my husband and I were in London in 2004, and we asked if we could meet with her. We sat with Baroness Thatcher in her office in London and talked for 90 minutes nonstop.”

Nonetheless, Leary, like many others around the world are mourning Thatcher’s passing. “We were shocked and deeply saddened. We lost one of the great political leaders of our time,” Leary said.

Thatcher’s ’98 visit left a lasting impression on Bay Path College.

After it, they started the Margaret Thatcher Study Abroad Scholarship in her honor, awarding students $3-5,000 to help with the cost of those expenses. Thatcher will have a ceremonial funeral with military honors at London’s St. Paul’s Cathedral, which is reserved for great figures of state.

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