‘She was cold, scary but a remarkable women – it was a priviledge to be so close to her’ - A Bury St Edmunds man recalls his meeting with Margaret Thatcher

Michael Sibley met Margaret Thatcher in 1987 when she came to Bury.
Michael Sibley met Margaret Thatcher in 1987 when she came to Bury.
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Michael Sibley was working as engineering manager at Herga Electric in Northern Way, Bury, when Margaret Thatcher visited in 1987.

His boss had been sworn to secrecy but had told staff they had to be in work – so Michael had to drive back from his holiday in Whitby.

“We thought the company was being sold. I arrived to see sniffer dogs. Then she came but she wasn’t the least bit interested in us.

“She had the coldest eyes I have ever seen. She was quite scary. She didn’t smile and she had no sense of humour whatsoever.”

He told how she tried a piece of computer component testing equipment which flashed failed. But while everyone else laughed Mr Sibley said she seemed ‘mortified.’

She then tested a forklift truck failsafe saying she wanted to drive it at the MD.

“He said he’d never been so scared in his life. It stopped and then she said: ‘Right your turn to drive it into me’.

“It was quite surreal – a moment I shall never forget.

“The women seemed to love her but the men didn’t like her. I think they didn’t like that she was so powerful.

“She was a most remarkable woman but not universally admired. We were priviledged to be so close to her even if it was only for 45 minutes.”