Obituary: Alan Beresford

Anita Green pays tribute to the legacy of her father, former RCN officer Alan Beresford

I knew my dad was a good nurse and I had heard that, as an RCN officer, he was a shrewd negotiator. But it wasn’t until after he died, and I read the wonderful things that his colleagues wrote about him, that I realised just how proud of him I ought to be.

Alan Beresford

My father Alan Beresford worked for the RCN from 1966-1987. He joined the college as an area officer for the north west (Preston office) after working as a mental health nurse. In 1979 he moved to the Bath office to be area officer for the south west. He retired in 1987. He died on 20 April after a long illness, having been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease.

When I mentioned his name to a former colleague of mine she told me she had seen him in action in his heyday as an RCN officer and had been impressed.

Someone else who had worked with him briefly sent his condolences and said my father was greatly respected by all his colleagues, managers and ‘most importantly, the nurses he represented’.

But it was the words of a former colleague at the RCN, Jenny Upshall, that really stopped me in my tracks when she wrote: ‘Alan was a generous man who always took the time to listen to others and he had a passion for righting wrongs. He would fight a wrong system like a terrier and he taught me nearly all I know about the power of effective advocacy.

‘He always believed that the RCN should work closely with other trade unions as he believed that strength lay in unity.

‘Although quietly spoken he packed a punch and was greatly respected by our members, managers and other trade union officials. He loved his family and, just like us all, would often struggle to balance family time with work needs.

‘He was kind, supportive, fearless and a wonderful mentor and we missed him like mad when he moved to another region.’

I read the email on the train and cried my eyes out. Quite a legacy to live up to…

About the author

Dr Anita Green is associate director of care professionals education/senior nurse consultant and clinical reader at the University of Brighton, Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust

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