Veteran Conservative party activist Deirdre Cook has a special interest in the forthcoming General Election.

If it had not been for Mrs Cook’s organising skills Theresa May might have missed the all-important interview that saw her selected as Maidenhead’s prospective parliamentary candidate almost 20 years ago.

Mrs Cook, 77, of Marlow Road was secretary of Windsor and Maidenhead Conservative Association back then.

The parliamentary constituency of Windsor and Maidenhead had been split in two and the Maidenhead constituency had to be filled.

Mrs Cook said: “There was no shortage of applicants. We had about 1,000 initially.”

Her job was to organise the timetable for the all important final interviews with the Maidenhead party bosses.

She said: “I contacted Mrs May but there was a problem. She was in Brussels – I think she worked for the Bank of England at the time – and could not make it by the deadline.

“I had to do some major rearranging to fit her in.”

She says she was glad she did after sitting in on the interview and seeing the future prime minister at work.

She said: “There were two other candidates, Philip Hammond and I think the other one was the son of an earl.

“She had 15 minutes. She put her watch on the table, started talking and seemed to know everything about the constituency.

“She had been all round it, knew all the issues.

“I said to my friend ‘there is a future prime minister’.

“I think she got twice the votes of the the other two combined.”

Mrs Cook – now a great grandmother – still regularly sees Mrs May.

“She still comes into the Conservative Club at Maidenhead regularly for her lunch.”