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Last Updated: Tuesday, 1 May 2007, 08:46 GMT 09:46 UK
The day I met Tony Blair
Tony Blair
Tony Blair won a landslide victory in 1997
It's 10 years since the prime minister led Labour to the first of three consecutive election victories.

Four BBC News website readers recall the time they met Tony Blair, and share their feelings about the leader.

Have you met Tony Blair? You can send us your experiences with the link below:

ANDY BRIGGS, 30, COMMUNICATIONS CONSULTANT, WINCHESTER

Andy Briggs in 1997 and 2007
Andy was in the crowd in 1997
I was one of the crowd who watched as Tony Blair arrived at Number 10 on that historic day in 1997.

We were all buoyed up by the new hope that he and New Labour personified after the seemingly inept John Major years.

Unfortunately, he and his government have not lived up to the promise of that moment.

I was a drama student and had come down from Winchester. There were open auditions for Jesus Christ Superstar and I fancied my chances.

So I was just in the right place at the right time when the new prime minister swept by.

Having lived for most of my life under the Tories, I was keen to see what a Labour government would bring.

For a short time the whole country was behind Tony Blair
And this seemed to be what most people felt. It was time for a change.

For a short time the whole country was behind Tony Blair.

But his government was soon hit by allegations of sleaze.

Tony has made a lot of promises in his time, but delivered very little.

And, with added taxes and increases to the cost of living, I feel that I am the one who has footed the bill for the Blairite vision of modern Britain.

I think that Tony Blair will be remembered for two things. Creating the morass that is Iraq and the Millennium Dome.

JESSICCA WATTS, 33, SELF-EMPLOYED, KENT

Jessica Watts and Tony Blair in 2006
Jessica has met Tony Blair more than once
I met the prime minister at the launch of the 1997 election campaign when I unveiled one of Labour's five pledges for the first time at Chilston Park in Maidstone, Kent.

I was a young activist at the time. I wasn't really interested in a career in politics, it was more that I was keen to see a change.

It was already exciting for us local kids to learn that Kent would be part of the election campaign.

So when I was chosen to unveil one of the pledges the day became something of a roller-coaster ride.

A few of us were ushered into a room afterwards and Tony Blair was there with John Prescott, chatting to people and signing T-shirts.

I was a little star-struck when I met Tony Blair
I remember thinking: 'Well, that's the closest you're going to get to a man who could be prime minister.'

There was a real buzz in the air, and a feeling that this person was going to change the country.

To be honest, I was a little star-struck at the time and couldn't really think of much to say.

I've had the chance to meet him again and I think he still has that star quality.

The best way to describe it is that when he steps into the room you know he's there, even before you see him. Bill Clinton had it too. And I think Cameron may have it.

Personally, I feel the government has achieved a great deal. Poorer people have seen their incomes rise and also their opportunities. Our health service have improved and our children are in smaller classes in schools.

I wish Tony Blair and his family well in retirement.

CHRIS HEATHCOTE, 21, STUDENT, CHESHIRE

Chris Heathcote and Tony Blair
Chris's view of Labour has changed over the years
I met Tony Blair last April when he came to my university - the LSE - to unveil the restored Fabian Window.

The invitation to the event said only that a senior government minister would be present.

We were a little surprised when Tony Blair turned up.

Most people saw the irony of the leader who has done so much to reform the traditions of the Labour Party unveiling a monument to that history.

He looked tired but still gave an amusing off-the-cuff speech and stayed to chat to people.

The whole thing was over in about 20 minutes. I got the impression that we were just one tiny appointment in his day, forgotten just as soon as he was back in his motorcade.

My view of Labour over the last 10 years has changed a few times.

Maybe Tony Blair has re-moulded British politics and that will be his legacy
It was hard not to be impressed by Blair in the early years but I'm not so sure now, particularly with the NHS apparently on the verge of a crisis.

As a history student, I have no doubt that Blair will be remembered firstly for reforming the Labour Party and making it electable and secondly for the decision to go to war in Iraq.

That event has cast such a long shadow that in time we'll forget about anything his party might have achieved with public services.

Whilst David Cameron seems to have finally made the Conservatives electable again, he has done so by copying Blair. So maybe Tony Blair has re-moulded British politics and that will be his legacy.

NIZAMUDDIN YUSUF, 20, STUDENT, BLACKBURN

Nizamuddin Yusuf with Tony Blair in Downing Street
Nizamuddin's got the chance to question the prime minister
A chance text message led me to having a meeting with Tony Blair and Gordon Brown.

I sent the text after watching a Labour election broadcast in mid-April this year, which invited viewers to send a question to the prime minister.

I thought no more about it until I became one of just six to be selected for a visit.

I was very surprised - and my parents wouldn't believe me!

Me and the five others were taken to Downing Street

My question was about recycling. I wanted to know why people are advised to recycle their household waste when 53,000 newsagents dump their rubbish in a normal refuse bin.

Tony Blair said he backed my idea and he was very impressed with my research.

He talked a lot and had a great sense of humour.

We even had lunch in Tony Blair's living room
Being a fellow Newcastle fan he joked saying: 'I thought you were from Blackburn, I don't think Jack Straw will be happy.'

I was filmed along with others - and the end product is going to be aired as part of the Labour Party political broadcast.

Personally I am very pro-recycling, I help my mum sort out paper, plastic and other recyclable waste at home.

I never imagined being invited to tour the House of Commons. We even got to go to 10 Downing Street - where we had lunch in Tony Blair's living room.


Have you met Tony Blair? You can send us your experiences using the form below:

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