The first pictures showing how Margaret Thatcher could be honoured in her hometown have been revealed.
Two potential statue designs depict the Iron Lady holding her famous handbag and standing tall in the centre of Grantham while a third portrays her in a more relaxed pose sitting down.
Mrs Thatcher’s statue could be placed outside Grantham Museum and just metres away from a sculpture of Sir Isaac Newton, who was educated in the town and brought up in the nearby Woolsthorpe Manor.
Proposals for a statue in Grantham of the UK’s first female prime minister, who died in April aged 87, have proved to be controversial with suggestions it might need to be on a plinth to protect it from vandals.
Mrs Thatcher, latterly Baroness Thatcher of Kesteven, grew up in the Lincolnshire town and was the daughter of a grocer.
The Grantham Community Heritage Association, a charity that operates Grantham Museum, announced in March its plans to raise funds for a statue.
The project aims to raise £200,000, with at least half the cash funding museum renovations and also exhibits linked to Mrs Thatcher’s achievements and heritage.
The pose and the exact location have yet to be decided and the monument would require planning permission.
One idea includes having discs around the base of the statue engraved with Mrs Thatcher’s most famous quotes.
Helen Goral, Grantham Museum chairman, said the artist’s impressions would give people an idea of how the “historic project” could look.
And she said ideas for museum exhibits included allowing people to deliver Mrs Thatcher’s speeches at a Despatch Box.
Miss Goral said: “We are releasing three designs just to give people an opportunity to discuss them really. It’s always going to be a controversial subject - people will have something to say.
“I think it’s important for Grantham that people embrace its heritage and we have got to do something good for the town.
“Whether you agree with her politics or not, Mrs Thatcher was the first female prime minister of this country and the longest serving (of the 20th Century).
“Since her death there’s been quite a significant number of visitors to the museum. We get a lot of international visitors and they are amazed Grantham doesn’t have anything substantial to recognise where she comes from.”
The drawings will be available to view within the museum and online at www.margaretthatcherstatue.org from today, with people encouraged to comment on which one they prefer.
There is already a bronze sculpture of Mrs Thatcher in the Houses of Parliament. A £150,000 statue of Mrs Thatcher was also decapitated in 2002.
Miss Goral said the poses chosen in the initial artist’s impressions are representations of other statues.
She said: “We have an advisory panel in place that along with the sculptor will advise on specifics of pose.
“These impressions are to give the public an indication of what it will look like in situ to be used as a basis of discussion.”
She added: “It’s a hugely exciting stage in the project and one that we couldn’t have achieved without support from the local community and further afield.
“The opportunity for Grantham to embrace it’s rich heritage and exploit it for the good of the town is something that should be welcomed.”
Mrs Thatcher became MP for Finchley in 1959 and was Conservative prime minister between 1979 and 1990.
Meanwhile, the school that helped propel the Iron Lady to No 10 was yesterday awarded Grade II-listed status by Heritage Minister Ed Vaizey.
Mrs Thatcher, who attended Kesteven and Grantham Girls’ School between 1936 and 1943, said she would not have made it to Downing Street “but for this school”.