Lord Ashdown remembered

Tuesday, 10th September 2019

Lord Ashdown remembered

HRH The Duke of Edinburgh was represented by Lieutenant Colonel Oliver Coryton RM at a Service of Thanksgiving for the life and work of the Rt Hon The Lord Ashdown of Norton-sub-Hamdon GCMG CH KBE, held at Westminster Abbey at Noon on Tuesday 10th September 2019.

HRH The Duke of York was represented by The Lord Boyce KC KCB OBE KStJ DL; HRH The Princess Royal was presented by Mr Russell Corn; and HRH Prince Michael of Kent was presented by Lieutenant Colonel Neil Watkinson RM. HE The President of Bosnia Herzegovina, Mr Željko Komšić, also attended.

The service was conducted by the Dean of Westminster, the Very Reverend Dr John Hall, who said in his Bidding:

We come to give thanks to almighty God and to celebrate a man whose restless life embraced the Royal Marines, the diplomatic service, membership of Parliament in both Houses, the leadership of a political party, and finally a triumphant period of successful command representing the United Nations and the European Union in strife-torn Bosnia and Herzegovina.
At this time, we continue to pray in particular for the justice and peace for which Lord Ashdown worked in a world too riven by faction and fear.

At the start of the service, the Standard of the Royal Marines Association and Lord Ashdown's Royal Marine's Officers' Sword were brought forward by Michael Shannon, Royal Marines Association, and Matthias Theurel, grandson, and placed on the High Altar by the Dean.

Major General Matthew Holmes CBE DSO, Commandant General Royal Marines, read the Royal Marines Prayer.

Alisoun Downing, sister, read a Tribute. Husein Kavazović, the Grand Mufti of Bosnia and Herzegovina, read from Qur'an 16: 90-97.

The Reverend Peter Thomas, former Priest-in-Charge and former Rector of Norton-sub-Hamdon, read Isaiah 52: 7-12; and the Rt Hon The Baroness Grender MBE read 2 St Timothy 4: 1-7

The Rt Hon Sir John Major KG CH gave the Address.

The Rt Hon Sir Nick Clegg read from the funeral oration attributed to Pericles (c 495-29 BC); and Mark Ashdown, brother, read a traditional Irish Blessing.

Prayers were led by the Reverend Mark Birch, Minor Canon and Sacrist, and said by: the Right Reverend David Urquhart KCMG, Bishop of Birmingham and Prelate of the Order of St Michael and St George; Admiral of the Fleet The Lord Boyce; the Reverend Prebendary Rose Hudson-Wilkin, Chaplain to the Speaker of the House of Commons; Mike Penrose, Executive Director, UNICEF UK; and the Reverend Dr Jamie Hawkey, Canon in Residence.

Last Post and Reveille were sounded before the Dean pronounced the Blessing.

The service was sung by the Westminster Abbey Special Service Choir, directed by James O'Donnell, Organist and Master of the Choristers. The organ was played by Peter Holder, Sub-Organist, and before the service by Matthew Jorysz, Assistant Organist.

The Band of Her Majesty's Royal Marines, Lympstone, was conducted by Colour Sergeant Dom O'Conner.

Order of Service for A Service of Thanksgiving for the life and work of The Right Honourable the Lord Ashdown of Norton-sub-Hamdon GCMG CH KBE (PDF, 556KB)