Paddy’s turn as tour guide

Former Liberal Democrat leader Paddy Ashdown, who served in the navy, visited the Royal Navy Submarine Museum on Monday and became an unofficial tour guide for half and hour.' 'He was at the sub museum filming a new documentary for the BBC
Former Liberal Democrat leader Paddy Ashdown, who served in the navy, visited the Royal Navy Submarine Museum on Monday and became an unofficial tour guide for half and hour.' 'He was at the sub museum filming a new documentary for the BBC
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VISITORS to the Royal Navy Submarine Museum had a very special tour guide when former Liberal Democrat leader Paddy Ashdown popped in for a trip down memory lane.

Lord Ashdown, who served in the Royal Marines and special forces, was at the Gosport museum filming for a new BBC documentary.

But he took a time out from in front of the camera to wow visitors with tales of his own experiences serving beneath the waves.

George Burgess, 74, a retired submariner from Gosport who volunteers as a guide on HMS Alliance, said: ‘What a super guy. He was talking for about half and hour about submarines he had been on in his time and what he did in the past. It was fascinating.

‘He was reliving a few memories about the covert operations he did in the Special Boat Service.

‘He became a bit of an unofficial tour guide for some of our visitors who happened to be looking around at the time.’

Lord Ashdown has close connections with the Royal Navy Submarine Museum and is a patron of the HMS Alliance appeal to raise £7m to restore the decaying Second World War boat to her former glory.

He was filming in the museum for a BBC programme on the Cockleshell Heroes due to air later this year.

Lord Ashdown is due to do more filming at the museum in the coming weeks.

Marketing manager Bill Sainsbury said: ‘He was happy talking to people here.

‘He was relaxed and very personable. He was obviously enjoying himself reminiscing about submarines with our visitors who were enthralled.’

The museum is due to step back in time on Thursday for an Edwardian day to celebrate the era when the Royal Navy’s first submarine, the Holland One, was launched.

Holland One, which has been fully restored and is on display at the museum, was designed by Irish inventor John Philip Holland who will be brought back to life by an actor for the day.

There will be traditional Edwardian summer activities for children such as a Punch and Judy show and spoon puppet making at the event, which will take place from 11am to 3pm.