It is always sad to hear of the death of someone people respect, and more so someone you have met. Paddy had bladder cancer diagnosed in October, I believe, so his illness was short but devastating in its impact.
I’m not a Liberal Democrat by nature but I did meet Paddy Ashdown a couple of times and listened to him speak on a few occasions. He was a decent but not powerful speaker though I do remember going to a Clovelly lecture a few years ago where he asked a difficult question of the audience. The only person who knew the answer was my comparatively badly-dressed husband. Paddy was rather taken aback but quickly recovered. At the same event, he met my mother-in-law, a lifelong LibDem who actively campaigned for the party. He was utterly courteous to her, which was lovely to witness.
I’ve also seen him speak at Appledore Book Festival, where he came across as sincere and knowledgeable. However, he was no angel and I have heard him described as sexist (the word used was misogynist). That said, who is?
So, RIP Paddy. You added something indefinable to a political system full of egotistical people with little common sense, and you were a leading light in West Country politics.