Funeral held for Paddy Ashdown

Politics
Paddy AshdownImage copyright Reuters
Image caption He was knighted in 2000, and entered the House of Lords a year later as Baron Ashdown of Norton-sub-Hamdon

Former Liberal Democrat leader Paddy Ashdown has been remembered at a private funeral in Somerset.

Lord Ashdown died aged 77 in December after a short illness. He was diagnosed with bladder cancer in October.

The former Yeovil MP’s funeral, held in his home village of Norton-sub-Hamdon, was attended by family, friends and former prime minister Sir John Major.

Hundreds of people people watched the service on TV screens in the village hall.

Paddy Ashdown led the Liberal Democrats between 1988 and 1999 before standing down from Parliament in 2001 to become the United Nations’ high representative in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Image caption The funeral was attended by close friends and family

Christened Jeremy, he was given the nickname Paddy when he went to school in England after spending his childhood years in Northern Ireland.

“Locally, you wouldn’t get away with any other name,” the Rev Peter Thomas told about 40 mourners at St Mary’s Church.

“God also knew him as Paddy, not Jeremy, and probably didn’t call him Lord,” he joked.

One of the speakers at the service, Myles Wickstead, said Lord Ashdown “espoused the values of openness and tolerance, and he found them in this village which he loved”.

“He was never happier than when at the Lord Nelson on a Friday night, indulging in a mixture of arguments, fun, gossip, banter and, of course, drink.

“Our community and our country now are poorer that Paddy has gone,” he added.

After his death, politicians from all parties paid tribute to him, with Prime Minister Theresa May saying he “served his country with passion and distinction”.

Image caption About 200 people packed the nearby village hall to see the funeral relayed on screens

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-somerset-46822389

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *