Lord Ashdown Service
A Service of Thanksgiving for the life and work of the Right Honourable The Lord Ashdown of Norton-sub-Hamdon GCMG, CH, KBE will be held at Westminster Abbey at Noon on Tuesday 10th September 2019.
Jeremy John Durham Ashdown was born in New Delhi in 1941 to Lieutenant Colonel John Ashdown of the British Indian Army and Lois Hudson. After a childhood in India and Northern Ireland, Ashdown was sent to Bedford School where his then broad Northern Irish accent earned him the nickname he bore for the rest of his life, Paddy.
Ashdown joined the Royal Marines in 1959, going on to pass the selection for the Special Boat Service. He left the Marines in 1972 to join the Diplomatic Service and was posted to the UK’s Mission to the United Nations in Geneva. In 1974, he returned home to the UK with his wife Jane to become active in Liberal Party politics.
He won the Yeovil seat for the Liberal Party in the 1983 General Election, and went on to represent the people of Yeovil for eighteen years. In 1988 he became the leader of the newly formed Liberal Democrats, created by the merger of the Liberal Party and the Social Democratic Party.
After 11 years as party leader, Ashdown stood down in 1999 and gave up his seat in Yeovil in 2001. He was appointed a peer and became Lord Ashdown of Norton-sub-Hamdon, the village near Yeovil where he and Jane lived.
In 2002 Ashdown was appointed as the High Representative for Bosnia-Herzegovina and the European Union Special Representative. After four successful years representing the international community in Sarajevo, he returned to Somerset and remained very active in the House of Lords and on causes he supported.
Paddy Ashdown died in December 2018, and is survived by Jane, their children and grandchildren.
Attendance at the Service will be by invitation.