Wales

Margaret Thatcher funeral: Welsh mourners at service

  • 17 April 2013
  • From the section Wales

Two Welsh Guardsmen and Falklands veteran brothers have commanded the pallbearers at the funeral procession of Baroness Thatcher.

Garrison Sergeant Major William "Bill" Mott is in charge of all Army ceremonial matters in London.

As eight military personnel carried the coffin into St Paul's, Bill Mott was in front and Major Nick Mott at the rear.

The 1st Battalion Welsh Guards formed an honour guard and flags at the Welsh assembly in Cardiff flew at half-mast.

Guardsman Sam Williams, 19, from Bangor, Gwynedd, was among those who followed the eight pall bearers, while L/Cpl Adam Jones, 23, from Prestatyn, Denbighshire, of the Queen's Colour Squadron RAF, was also a member of the bearer party.

Simon Weston, Katherine Jenkins and Dame Shirley Bassey were among Welsh mourners at St Paul's for the former Prime Minister.

First Minister Carwyn Jones, Welsh Secretary David Jones, assembly Presiding Officer Rosemary Butler and Welsh Office ministers Stephen Crabb and Baroness Randerson were among representatives from the Welsh political arena.

Former Welsh Secretary and current Foreign Secretary William Hague and his Welsh wife Ffion were also present, as were Conservative assembly leader Andrew RT Davies and MPs Glyn Davies and Guto Bebb, Tory MEP Kay Swinburne, and Plaid Cymru parliamentary leader Elfyn Llwyd.

They joined 2,300 mourners in the cathedral as the Bill Mott, 55, and Nick Mott, 49 - who were both on the Sir Galahad when it was attacked in the Falklands war in 1982 - accompanied the coffin.

The Welsh Guards played a prominent role in the funeral with guardsmen also among the 700 service personnel lining the processional route.

Image caption Dame Shirley Bassey at the funeral

Afterwards, Falklands veteran and former Welsh Guard Simon Weston said the funeral had been "special" and he felt "honoured and privileged to have been there".

"It was great that the services had an involvement particularly because we had such a big role in her career," Mr Weston, who was badly burned on the Sir Galahad said.

"She was always really good with the guys. The Falklands will always be one of the biggest parts of her legacy."

Mr Weston said Baroness Thatcher "showed every woman in the world you don't have to come from great beginnings".

He called protests against the former prime minister "pathetic", adding he hoped "beyond all hope" that it would remain a dignified day, despite opposing views about Lady Thatcher.

Some 2,300 people, representing 170 countries, attended to pay tribute to Lady Thatcher, who was prime minister from 1979 to 1990.

Former Labour leader Lord Kinnock, who opposed Mrs Thatcher for much of her premiership in the 1980s was not there, but instead a mourner at the funeral of a former Labour councillor.

Image caption Mezzo-soprano Katherine Jenkins arriving at St Paul's

The Archbishop Of Wales Dr Barry Morgan was invited but was unable to attend due to prior engagements.

Some former miners from south Wales - where there is still anger about the miners' strike - travelled to London to witness the funeral. Wayne Thomas, the general secretary of the National Union of Mineworkers in Wales said the union's staff were given the day off on Wednesday.

But Mr Thomas said: "My view on the matter is quite clear - I do think that we should show respect for the family of Mrs Thatcher. They have lost a loved one.

"There are grieving family members and we should respect that."

Dame Shirley Bassey said: "She was a truly inspirational woman who always showed me enormous warmth and kindness, and to me the greatest prime minister since Winston Churchill."

Fellow singer Katherine Jenkins said she was attending because she knew Lady Thatcher personally through their work with the military charities.

Former paratrooper Denzil Connick, another veteran of the Falklands, was also be in the congregation.

Mr Connick, from Tredegar, Blaenau Gwent, met Lady Thatcher several times as secretary of the South Atlantic Medal Association.

St Paul's has published a full funeral order of service.

Meanwhile, protests against Baroness Thatcher took place later in Cardiff and Wrexham with about 50 people at each gathering.

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