Paddy Ashdown, former Bedford schoolboy and ex-Lib Dem leader, dies aged 77

MBTC-12-03-13- Lord Ashdown at Bedford  School. 'Wk 11''Lord Paddy Ashdown visits Bedford School to give a talk on his latest book. ENGPNL00120131203141609
MBTC-12-03-13- Lord Ashdown at Bedford School. 'Wk 11''Lord Paddy Ashdown visits Bedford School to give a talk on his latest book. ENGPNL00120131203141609

Bedford’s Lberal Democrat mayor has paid tribute to former party leader Paddy Ashdown, who has died at the age of 77.

Lord Ashdown, who was born in Northern Ireland, was educated from the age of 11 at Bedford School. His Irish accent earned him the nickname Paddy, which stuck.

Lord Ashdown, whose real name was Jeremy John Durham, visited Bedford many times and would often reminisce about his school days in the town.

Mayor of Bedford Borough, Dave Hodgson, said: “Very sad to hear the terrible news about Paddy Ashdown. Paddy was a Bedford School boy who went on to serve his country with distinction in the military, as a politician, and as a diplomat.

“He is a towering figure in the liberal movement, and someone I’m proud to have known and have worked with.

“Every time he came back to Bedford, as he did many times, he enjoyed reminiscing about old haunts from his school days and noticing how things had changed and also how they hadn’t.

“A sad day. My thoughts are with Jane and the family. Rest in peace, Paddy.”

Lord Ashdown, died on December 22 just a matter of weeks after being diagnosed with bladder cancer.

Lord Ashdown is survived by his wife, Jane and their daughter, Kate, and son, Simon.