I have had the privilege to work with Alex Beresford when he agreed to be guest speaker at an event I organised in Nottinghamshire on behalf of the Office for the Police and Crime Commissioner (then Paddy Tipping), in 2019. The event brought together senior directors from across local authorities and public sector organisations (such as the Police, Councils, and education) to find solutions to tackling knife crime in local communites.
Known by most for being the weatherman on GMTV, I was like many, pleasently surprised to find out how passionate this man is about tackling issues affecting young people, such as knife crime. Alex had just gone viral in 2019 after he criticised Piers Morgan’s call for more prisons, when discussing that very same issue, instead stating that:
"Prison doesn’t work though. It does not work. I’ve grown up in some of these communities’ you guys are talking about.
"Some of these boys don’t fear prison."
Tragically, 11 days later, Alex’s own cousin Nathaniel Armstrong was murdered in London.
Since then, Alex has presented Knife Crime and Me, a documentary in which he travelled to Bristol, London, the West Midlands, and Glasgow to better understand the issues and how to solve them. It was at this time that Alex attended our event in Nottingham.
I personally admired Alex’s passion for changing the experiences and self-belief of young black boys and his stance on family values. He openly shared stories about his own childhood in Bristol and how he first lived in his grandparents' house, before his parents got a council house. They eventually saved up enough to put down a deposit for a house in Eastville, Bristol, where he grew up.
Alex comes from a mixed heritage background with an English mum and Guyanese father, Whom Alex says never took sick days and worked hard for his family, whilst also instilling strict values.
Alex has used his platform to campaign for several causes. In my case, he showed huge enthusiasm when he learnt that the event was about tackling knife crime. He is a man who supports this and other causes close to his heart, from powerful discussions about racism to his stand against knife crime. Alex also set up Diversity School Tour Project to engage with pupils in inner-city schools and talk about careers in the media.
Alex started as an autocue operative for Bristol-based ITV West Country, before retraining as a weatherman. Three years later he was working on national television, and made his debut appearance on ITV’s Breakfast show, Daybreak, in 2012. Alex’s regular presence on Good Morning Britain - Daybreak’s replacement – eventually boosted him to fame.