A talented De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) graduate, who became an instrumental and well-loved member of DMU’s social media team, has died at the age of 28.
For almost five years, Adam Redfern has been at the heart of our social media channels, imbuing posts, campaigns and coverage with his friendly voice and creative ideas, giving the university a distinctive and popular online presence.
And before that he was a dedicated student and hugely popular executive member of De Montfort Students’ Union (DSU), helping push forward developments such as the refurbishment of our Campus Centre.
Last week, we were heartbroken to learn that, while out for an evening jog, Adam had suffered a suspected heart attack and died.
The news has affected all of us here at DMU and DSU, not only those who worked closely with him in the communications team but those staff who learned from his expertise so frequently, those students he encouraged to get involved in our social media output, and the course mates and lecturers who knew and taught him as a student.
For nearly a decade, Adam has been an integral part of our DMU community. He first came to DMU in 2011, to study Journalism. It was clear early on how much appetite Adam had for university life, becoming a member of the men’s football team and volunteering for all three strands of Demon Media, the university’s student broadcaster.
He later became editor of The Demon newspaper and hosted a sports programme on student radio station DemonFM, along with other stints working with DemonTV.
This involvement persuaded Adam to run for a role on the DSU executive committee, winning the position of Vice President Media and Communications in 2014 and then again for a second term for 2015.
In this role, he not only oversaw the growth of Demon Media but also had a hand in building a staff team to better communicate the work of DSU. He also played a major role in bringing the high-profile Student Radio Association (SRA) conference to DMU in 2017, as well as providing employability opportunities for students through his Shape Your Future campaign.
While in post, Adam played a key role in instigating the refurbishment of Campus Centre, the university’s main student building. An instrumental development, it has helped thousands of DMU students by providing a safe space to explore, enjoy and enhance their university experience.
While at DSU, Adam was one of the student leaders of a fantastic sporting trip to California, which saw DMU students take on some challenging US opponents alongside some sightseeing in and around San Diego, including watching baby pandas at the world-famous zoo and cheering on the Padres on the baseball field.
It was Adam’s passion and enthusiasm for others that led him to raise more than £1,000 for charity by cycling more than 350 miles in five days. It was this passion for helping others, students and the wider community that means his work at DSU will leave a lasting legacy for many years to come.
During this time Adam’s passion for student media and immersion in the students’ union was clear for all to see but, when asked, he would identify his part in the men’s football team’s Varsity-winning heroics of 2015 as his finest hour.
After his time at DSU, Adam won a role in the university’s communications team, helping to improve the profile of DMU Sport and leading creative campaigns to promote Varsity several years running.
He was then promoted to Senior Social Media Officer, helping to line manage others in a team which has, during his time within it, won multiple awards and been one of DMU’s true assets.
He helped plan social media coverage for DMU Global trips abroad, joining students in New York; he built a loyal and enthusiastic group of student ambassadors with whom he created innovative content and, together with the rest of the team, gave the university a clear, engaging and distinctive voice.
The impact of Adam’s death has been felt right across the university for many reasons.
That he was so young, with his whole promising future ahead of him is undoubtedly one. That his death was so sudden and - as a sports player and fitness enthusiast - so unlikely, is another.
But it is the loss of someone who so completely embodied all that we try to inspire in students at DMU which has affected us most.
In his warmth and his friendliness, in his willingness to get involved in something new, in his humour and open-hearted love of meeting new people, in the way in which he seized on every opportunity he could in his short life, Adam really was the best of DMU in one person.
We will miss him greatly.
Adam, who was born and raised in Long Eaton, Derbyshire, and was a huge Derby County fan, enjoyed spending his spare time with family and friends, and running and walking in the countryside around the River Trent.
He is survived by his mother, Christine, and father, Ian.
Adam’s family has been overwhelmed with kindness and support, receiving many cards, messages and photographs – each bringing a treasured memory of Adam’s life.
The funeral details, when available, will be shared on an updated version of this story. The family, while requesting family flowers only for the funeral, are hoping to work with DMU on a lasting tribute to Adam in the form of a memorial trust, the funds from which will support future DMU students and carry a media and sport focus. Again, we will share details once they become available and donations to the trust in Adam’s memory will be greatly appreciated.