‘Inspirational’ Alan is new board member at Sunderland respite centre

Alan Pockley has been appointed to the Grace House board.
Alan Pockley has been appointed to the Grace House board.
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Sunderland’s new respite centre for seriously-ill young people has appointed an “inspirational” board member.

Thirty-year-old Alan Pockley, who has muscle-wasting disease Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, has been fund-raising for Grace House for years.

I know how places like Grace House work and the difference they can make in people’s lives.

Alan Pockley

“I suppose I’ve been involved since it first started,” he said.

“My mum and dad were among the first fundraisers and I would go along with them and help where I could.”

Alan has already attended his first board meeting. “I think I can offer so much first-hand experience of what life is like when you’re suffering from a disability,” he said.

“I know how places like Grace House work and the difference they can make in people’s lives.

“I also know what people need because I’ve been there and done that,” added Alan, who lost the use of his legs aged five and now uses a specially-adapted wheelchair.

“I’m really looking forward to getting more involved in what I know will be an important facility for both Sunderland and the wider region,” he said.

Grace House is ready to open once Ofsted has inspected and registered the service.

David Cook said he is delighted Alan has joined the board. “He’s an intelligent, inspirational, independent and charming young man who I know will be a huge asset to the board,” he said.

“His experiences will provide an invaluable insight and the board and Grace House staff appreciate how much we can learn from him.

“He’s an engaging personality; a courageously-positive battler who can lift your spirits after only a few moments.”