A former leading figure in the NHS in Brighton and Hove has died a week before his 68th birthday.
Alan Bedford, who had been suffering from bowel cancer, died at the Martlets Hospice, in Hove, where he had previously served as a director for nine years until 2014.
Mr Bedford was an NHS chief executive for 13 years from 1991, with a spell in charge of South Downs Health NHS Trust, based at Brighton General Hospital. He also ran the old health authority responsible for services in Brighton and Hove.
For four years, until 2013, he was the independent chairman of the Brighton and Hove Local Safeguarding Children Board.
Mr Bedford, who lived in Hurstpierpoint, also held other senior posts in the NHS and carried out consultancy work with trusts facing particular challenges.
He carried out a number of serious case reviews, including the review of child sexual exploitation in Oxford published last year.
The review was commissioned after seven men were convicted of 59 counts of grooming and abusing girls over several years. The girls were physically assaulted, threatened, drugged, raped, trafficked and sold for sex.
Mr Bedford had a background in child protection before joining the NHS. After a stint as a probation officer, he spent ten years as a social worker with the NSPCC before joining the NHS 20 years ago.
He combined his professional career with his love of American football, winning six international caps during nine seasons as a premier league player. His other sporting love was tennis.
He is survived by his wife Antonia Rolls. They married in September, seven weeks before his death.
A celebration of Mr Bedford’s life is due to take place at Hurstpierpoint Village Centre on Saturday 12 November starting at 10.30am.