When I heard Paddy Ashdown was taken ill and in hospital, my thoughts were then that I hoped he would pull through.

Sadly, he has just passed away. He and I met briefly when he was campaigning and came to the New Forest.

We also exchanged one or two emails when I queried Policies and he telephoned me and left his observations on my answer phone.

I have never particularly liked the Conservatives and could not bring myself to voting Labour.

The Liberals were always an option but until the formation of the Liberal Democrats and the energy of the then new Leader, Paddy Ashdown, did I get involved.

He believed there had to be an alternative to the main two political Parties.

There is the feeling now of having lost a friend. Although we hardly knew each other.

Richard Grant