May 20, 2011, 3:59 PM
The British High Commission Banjul this week closed the week-long EU Film Festival which had been running at the Alliance Francaise with a showing of ‘The Iron Lady’.
The ‘Iron Lady’ is a movie about the first female British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher who died earlier this year.
In researching his speech, Acting High Commissioner to The Gambia George Sherriff found out that Margaret Thatcher had been a long term friend to The Gambia and discovered a recently released confidential letter from the UK Prime Minister to then Gambian President Jawara thanking him and the Gambian people for the use of Yundum airport which was used by the UK Royal Air Force during the Falklands conflict.
On 5 May 1982 Margaret Thatcher wrote, ‘I should like to express my very sincere gratitude for all ‘the help you are providing to the British government during these difficult times. The assistance which you and your government have given in allowing Raf aircraft to use Yundum Airport is most deeply appreciated’.
Margaret Thatcher also helped The Gambia in 1985 when The Gambia was suffering from a financial crisis.
She hosted a donor conference in London and delivered over £5m in budgetary support for The Gambia over the following two years.
In addition her government also funded the construction of Denton Bridge in 1985 and the refurbishment of RVTH in 1990.