Memory Walk tribute to father who created a ‘little corner of Sunderland’

The South Shields Memory Walk takes place on Saturday, October 5 and for one Sunderland family, this year’s walk will be particularly close to their hearts.

Monday, 20th April 2020, 10:25 am
The family together during happier times

Altree Grange, a quiet cul-de-sac in Fulwell, was named by Susan Woodcock’s father Alan Gibson, who built the first two houses.

But after being diagnosed with Vascular Dementia last year, his recollection of the piece of history he created is fading fast.

Now Susan, 58, is urging people to register for the Alzheimer’s Society event on to help the charity raise money to improve the lives of people affected by dementia.

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She said: “My dad will not remember this part of Sunderland soon, yet it wouldn’t be here had it not been for him.

“He bought a plot of derelict land back in the early 80s and built two houses on it, one for him and my mum, and the other for me and my first husband.

“When he came to register the address with the council, he had to come up with a name, so he chose Altree Grange.

“It’s a combination of his name and my mum Teresa, who he always called ‘Trees’ for short, and the pub across the road, The Grange, where they were regulars.”

Father and daughter next to their 'little piece of Sunderland'

Susan and second husband Robert now live in Daddry Shield, Weardale, and Alan, who lived most of his life in Sunderland, moved in with them five years ago.

Susan, a transport clerk for the Co-Op, said: “Robert is now dad’s main carer and is incredibly supportive. I really couldn’t cope without him.

“It was a shock when he was diagnosed with Vascular Dementia but not unexpected. Dad was asking strange questions such as whether he had to go to work, so we knew something wasn’t quite right.”

Danielle Cooper, Alzheimer’s Society Area Manager, said: “We are calling on family, friends and furry four-legged supporters to unite against dementia this autumn. Dementia devastates lives. Walk with us at Memory Walk and dementia won’t win.”

There will be three route options at this year’s South Shields Memory Walk, with distances of 1.5km, 7km and 17km.