TV Presenter Adnan Sarwar becomes a Patron of Felix Fund
Felix Fund is thrilled to welcome Adnan Sarwar — Former Royal Engineer (33 EOD), award-winning writer, editor, filmmaker & television presenter as a patron of the charity. He will join Andy Torbet in the role.
After leaving the British Army, Adnan found work behind the camera on television drama sets teaching actors how to play soldiers, gaining a Masters degree in film production, specialising as a writer and director. He had his first turn in front of the camera playing British Army officers (a huge promotion since he left the Sappers as a Lance Corporal) and bad guys, ending up at the National Theatre in London. Then followed a period of working in a restaurant (the constant stage for many an actor) for four years where he retrained to become a writer, reading several hundred books. In 2013, he won The Bodley Head / Financial Times Essay Prize for British Muslim Soldier, an exploration of identity, this led to becoming an intern at The Economist newspaper, shortly after which he became an editor spending three years in the London office.
Alongside he presented television documentaries for the BBC, where he travelled the length of Pakistan and revisited Iraq travelling from the mountains in the north, through Mosul where he met Optima teams helping to clear the city, then down to Basra where he served in the Iraq war in 2003 (he has fond memories of his Sergeant Major telling him to translate for the US Marines assuming he could speak Arabic, Adnan replied he was from Burnley and it wasn’t a local language). He has since studied Modern Standard Arabic and the Levantine dialect. Whilst visiting the old palace in Basra he remembered men lost in the war from the Joint Forces EOD Group. He went onto present more documentaries from hostile environments, in South Africa for Channel 4 he met the gangs in Cape Flats and dodged bullets to tell the story of children caught up in the violence.
He has never forgotten the pride in passing his courses at DEODS, wearing a bomb on his arm, serving alongside brave and dedicated women and men who changed the way he thought and lived his own life. And how in civilian life when he had his own low moments, it was soldiers who would call around to the restaurant and lift him back up, and the Royal British Legion, local RE association and The Soldiers’ Charity who helped pay for the degree, just like those hands we’ve all reached for on the wall of an assault course.
Things look different now. And he’s happy to put his shoulder to another effort, that of supporting the Felix Fund.
Copyright, Ben Timberlake, 2018