Lance Corporal Alan Redford
Presented by Lynette Beardwood
Honourable Pro-Chancellor, I have pleasure in presenting Lance Corporal Alan Redford, for the award of an Honorary Fellowship from Liverpool John Moores University.
This is a truly civic university, firmly rooted in this extraordinary city, and its defining ethos comprises three deceptively simple yet very powerful words: dream, plan, achieve.
Each July during Graduation Week, the University's highest honour – an Honorary Fellowship – is bestowed on a select band of individuals outside the University, in recognition of their outstanding achievement in a given field or profession, and who personify and inspire others to 'dream, plan, and achieve'.
It gives me great pleasure to present Lance Corporal Alan Redford for the award of Honorary Fellowship in recognition of his outstanding bravery and service to the people of the UK.
Alan Redford was born in Birkenhead and joined the army at seventeen. He has been with the army for nearly twenty years and within that time has toured Afghanistan, Iraq, Northern Ireland and the Falklands.
In 2011, Lance Corporal Redford was awarded the Military Cross by the Queen for his bravery and repeated acts of courage in Afghanistan. The Military Cross is granted in recognition of exemplary gallantry during active operations against the enemy on land.
The modest former Henry Meols School pupil received this leading Army honour after he twice saved lives while on tour as part of the 1st Mercian Regiment, who are based at Catterick Garrison, North Yorkshire. He inspired his men through a 26-hour barrage of bullets and hand grenades.
His citation said Alan leapt to his feet and ran towards the enemy, firing as he went, forcing the insurgents to retreat from the compound where his men joined him. The Mercians were then penned in and forced to fight for their lives for more than a day. Lance Corporal Redford has demonstrated incredible gallantry in the face of the enemy, turning the tide of the battle on at least two occasions. His unflinching courage has undoubtedly saved lives. He is a warrior in the truest sense; selfless and brave.
Alan later told the Liverpool Echo: "It was my job to make sure they got the right kit and knew what they were doing with it. I was making sure I was up and fighting, so they had someone to follow. With the way we had to live and on top of that trying to make the local population safe, trying to win hearts and minds, it was a difficult tour. It is an honour for me and the regiment to get recognised, but I could name another 50 lads from the company who I think deserve an MC. I am a normal, simple lad from Birkenhead."
His belief is that in a combat role you need to have an encouraging and supportive environment, and he has always found this with his patrol. In his own words "the other soldiers become like family".
A father of three, now living in Moreton, he also sees the importance of inspiring young people and regularly visits local schools and colleges, delivering talks about careers in the army. He believes that every young person should be inspired to do something with their lives, regardless of background.
This matches the ethos of LJMU that every individual can be a valued contributor to society.
Thus, it is with great pleasure that I present Lance Corporal Alan Redford, this most distinguished son of our city, for admission to our highest honour, as an Honorary Fellow of Liverpool John Moores University.