Businessman Alan Little recently paid a very important visit to London - to collect his MBE.
Alan appeared on the Queen’s New Year Honours list back in January for his voluntary and charitable services abroad.
He travelled to London with his wife, Hazel, and their three children, Elaine, Beth and Ian, on what was definitely one of the shorter flights he has taken.
Alan founded Lurgan company, Little Electrical, in the 1960s - and it is now one of the country’s leading electrical engineering companies.
“I came to Lurgan one day to do a wee job,” shared Alan Little. “The next day, I came back to do another wee job - and then I ended up staying!”
Since then, Alan has been travelling slightly further afield than Lurgan to put his expert electrical skills to good use. After being approached and pitched the idea by a friend, Norman Cuthbert, Alan travelled out to Guinea-Bissau to help install electrics in several buildings there - and the requests kept coming.
“It was mainly Africa - we travelled out every year from the ‘70s to places like Guinea-Bissau, Senegal, the Gambia and Sierra Leone,” explained Alan. “It began with someone asking if we would help. They were pretty primitive areas.”
Alan has now helped install electricals in communities across the globe - usually within schools, churches, hospitals and clinics - and he has plenty of stories to tell.
“I remember one day, after we had finished installing lights in one particular building, that locals came into the room and just stared at the lights,” Alan shared. “They then came closer and climbed up to touch them - to see if they were warm.”
Alan went on to experience narrow escapes from civil war in Guinea-Bissau, but he has continued to travel abroad - although this year might mark his final adventure.
“I’m going out to Moldova at the end of the year,” said Alan. “We’ve been out there before - along with Romania and Croatia - but this trip should see the project finished.”
Prince Charles presented the MBE to Alan - who has now passed the reins of Little Electrical on to his son, Ian. Staff frequently travel on the teams.