Judy Jamieson, the Conservatives’ constuency agent for Christchurch, said it was “a very sad day”. “As prime minister she was completely unique,” she said.

“The history books will show how lucky Great Britain was to have her for what she managed to achieve for this country, the likes of which we shall possibly never, ever see again.

“She broke the mould in so many ways; by becoming an MP with a young family, by standing for election against Edward heath and by being elected not once as a leader but also in three consecutive general elections.”

“She had to make brave decisions through the Falklands.”

Mrs Jamieson said Baroness Thatcher had been “inspirational”.
“She inspired both men and women,” she said. “And she crossed lines of class.

“She encouraged people to take a chance, whether it was in business or whatever it was. She always supported people who put their toe in the water and took a chance.

“I feel very fortunate to have met her on several occasions and she was always interested in what you were doing and what was happening.

“It’s a very sad day.”

Mrs Jamieson said her memories of Baroness Thatcher span from way 1975.

She said: “I worked for the Youth and Community team at Conservative Central Office.

“What always struck me about her was that she remembered the little things of life and because of this, I thought she was thoroughly professional.

“The last time I had any real contact with her was during the 1997 general election and she had come down to support the Conservatives in general and Chris Chope in particular.

“She was wonderful.

“She came upstairs to the Conservative club and noticed that we had a list for people to sign on to, so that we could send them a thank-you card.

“I’d better sign up,” she said, so I told her; “In that case, you’ll have to do some work!”

So she sat down and started sticking stamps on letters.

She definitely had this aura about her and people responded to that in whatever way.

But she could often surprise you.

I remember she was asked to tour Stewarts Gardenlands.

They prepared this route for her to walk through but I told them: “She’ll go where she wants; if she sees something that interests her she’ll be off.”

“Sure enough, she was walking down one path and she spotted a gardener doing something to a plant.

“Well, she was there, chatting to him about the plant and the soil and the other plants.

“I had no idea she knew so much, but she knew everything about plants and shrubs, their Latin names, how they grew.

“I realised she had an extensive knowledge of horticulture.

Mrs Jamieson said Baroness Thatcher very good with older people children, too and remembers her meeting the children at the Priory School.

“It was obvious they didn’t know who she was but they responded to her interest.

“She asked them what they wanted to do for their jobs and then she said ‘Now why do you want to do that’ and listened while they gave their answers.

“I think she’ll be most remembered for finally setting this country on the right road.

“It’s so long ago, that people have forgotten what things were like.

“They’ve forgotten that when you wanted to buy a telephone, for instance, you could have anything you liked, so long as it was black and you bought it from BT and you were prepared to wait three months for it to be installed.

“Her policies changed thinking like that. I think Lady Thatcher was, in the end, a woman ahead of her time.”