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Hastings & Rye Represented at Lord Ashdown Memorial Service

September 11, 2019 12:46 PM

PaddyThe Hastings & Rye constituency was represented by the local party's General Election agent, Rev Paul Hunt, at Westminster Abbey, for the memorial service of Lord Paddy Ashdown of Norton-sub-Hamdon, which took place on Tuesday.

The service was attended by a number of former Prime Ministers, and Sir John Major gave a moving tribute.

Paddy Ashdown, who was the Leader of the Liberal Democrats from its formation until 1999, visited the constituency on a number of occasions. One of his most memorable visits, which was recorded in his own memoirs, involved going out with local fishermen at the crack of dawn during the General Election campaign of 1997, evoking his time as an officer in the Special Boat Service. The Lib Dems had hoped to take the seat off the Conservatives at that election, but Michael Foster won the seat from third place in the surge of support for Tony Blair.

Pam Brown OBE, the Leader of Hastings Borough Council at this time said:

'It was Jo Grimond who inspired me to join the Liberal Party, but it was Paddy who was my real political hero. The people of Hastings loved him coming to the constituency. I remember the Royal Victoria Hotel being packed to the rafters when he came to speak to the business community. He was a very special person. Rest in Peace, Paddy.'