Protection Officer Recalls The Late Lady Thatcher

Rick Persich

Rick Persich

A St Mary’s resident who worked as Margaret Thatcher’s Special Branch protection officer says she’d want to be remembered for transforming Britain and increasing the sense of pride in the country.

Rick Persich was her personal detective when she was given the highest level of protection, even after leaving office.

His role, between 1994 and 1998 was to stop assassination attempts on her and protect her physical wellbeing. And he says his team would be expected to stand between her and an attacker and, “take a bullet.”

Rick says he admired her, claiming she was the only politician that he worked with that had not lied to him. And despite her reputation for sticking to her guns, Rick said he had to say no to Mrs Thatcher on a number of occasions when he felt she was at risk, and he says she always accepted that advice.

When he announced he was retiring to the islands, Rick says Lady Thatcher enquired about St Martins School and whether it was still viable, as she’d been here on a school visit as education secretary in the 70s.

Margaret Thatcher has been featured in dozens of TV programmes and most recently was portrayed by Meryl Streep in the award winning film ‘The Iron Lady.’ But Rick feels they didn’t portray her accurately.

He says the film gave the impression that husband Denis was downtrodden, something that was far from the truth. And he says Lady Thatcher was far kinder than the film implied, often spending large sums on staff member’s medical expenses, which was never publicised.