With the sad passing of Paddy Ashdown I would like to pay tribute to his time as an unemployment coordinator for Dorset County Council.

In the early 1980s, I was youth worker in charge at Dorchester Youth Centre in Colliton Street.

The then unknown and unemployed Paddy Ashdown joined us on a government training scheme with a remit to assist the large number of unemployed young people in the town.

We had long needed a centre where young people could go during the day to get information, support and advice.

As ever funding was short however, we did have the space for a portable building in the centre's car park.

Paddy was like a whirlwind, he knew someone who had a spare portable building, and someone else who could transport it in two halves and lift it over the wall of the centre.

He was as good as his word and the building was soon in our car park, at no cost to the centre.

The indefatigable Cecil Miller and his team of unemployed young people from WEDGE soon had it put together with services installed.

Many Dorchester young people in the 1980s found help and employment through the services at the centre and Paddy will long be remembered as the man who made it possible.


Park Road, Portland