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Latest name is unveiled on Farnham’s wall of fame

Group of people standing in front of a brick wall displaying commemorative plaques.

A former Farnham resident who was described as ‘the most important figure in humanitarian mine clearance since its inception’ has been honoured on the town’s wall of Notable Names. 

The latest plaque was unveiled by the Mayor of Farnham, Councillor Brodie Mauluka and Paddy Blagden’s youngest grandson Patrick Cryan.

Brigadier Patrick ‘Paddy’ Blagden CBE was born in 1935. He was educated at Charterhouse School and attended the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. At the age of 20 he was commissioned into the Royal Engineers.

In 1962, Paddy married Ann and they went on to have three daughters. 

Paddy’s career in the army saw him quickly rise through the ranks and by the age of 50 he was a Brigadier. He retired from the army at the age of 54 and joined the engineering staff of Royal Ordnance, part of British Aerospace.

Paddy drafted the national plans for mine-clearing for eight countries and played a major role in almost a dozen others. He was responsible for setting up the UN’s de-mining department and the Geneva International Centre for Humanitarian De-mining (GICHD) where he was its first Technical Director.

Paddy’s expertise on humanitarian de-mining saw him travel all over the world and he was credited by Bill Deedes (Lord Deedes) as being the inspiration for the campaign led by the Princess of Wales. 

After unveiling the plaque, the Mayor invited Paddy’s family and friends to join him at Farnham Town Hall for refreshments. Addressing the guests, the Mayor said: “Farnham is very fortunate that Paddy and Ann made such an active contribution to life in Farnham and that he was elected as a town Councillor for Castle Ward for both Waverley and Farnham Town Council. Paddy was also one of the small group of councillors that can be credited with laying the groundwork for the Farnham Neighbourhood Plan and he and Ann served as Mayor and Mayoress in Farnham from 2013-14 with charm and distinction.  

“We are recognising Paddy for his significant humanitarian contribution to de-mining but he is fondly remembered for many other skills including sporting and music, and his infectious laugh.”

These words were echoed by the Rt Revd Dr Christopher Herbert who spoke fondly of Paddy and Ann who he first met in the 1980s. He described how Paddy’s ‘lovely and engaging warmth combined with extraordinary courage’ and how he believed that his high sense of duty and self-giving service derived from his Christian faith. The Rt Revd also honoured Ann Blagden for her strength and support. He summed up by saying: ‘I honour Paddy – a truly great soldier and human being and I give thanks for simply knowing him.’

The speeches concluded with Patrick Cryan singing the hymn Eternal Fathers, Strong to Strong to Save.

There are now 32 plaques on the Notable Names wall which can be seen in South Street. To find out more about the achievements of each person who is honoured, visit

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