Alan's story

My name is Alan Gordon.

I was born in August 1947, the son of a Craghead Miner.

I was educated in Stanley Grammar School up until 1963. I went to sea as an Apprentice for Hudson Steamships in 1964. I became a Master Mariner in 1974.

I worked for several companies including.….. “Hudson Steamships, Kuwait, Esso, Tankships Transport etc. After going to sea, I worked as a river pilot, in Hull, for Associated British Ports until 2007 when I retired.”

I am married to Kathleen and together we have a daughter called Lisa who now has her own child, my granddaughter, Katy. My wife came to sea with me on several occasions and saw many foreign countries.

The other love of my life was Newcastle United. I am a life long supporter.

Even at sea, there was a time when I was in Singapore, when my ship was in dry dock, I saw Alan Shearer’s Newcastle United team playing a preseason friendly there.

Life was good until that fateful day.

It was June 2014 when I had the stroke. I was rushed in to Newcastle’s RVI and for the first 4 days I had no idea what had happened.

My right side was affected and I had no speech at all. The NHS provided physiotherapy for my limbs and I had a speech therapist to help me speak again.

After 6 days the RVI transferred me to North Tyneside General. Five days later I got pneumonia which set things right back. Both the NHS hospitals were really great and took very good care of me.

My wife and daughter have been supportive throughout my recovery.

When leaving North Tyneside hospital, the NHS provided post-stroke speech therapy. This was where I met Debbie Annis, my speech therapist.

For an hour a day, five days a week for eight weeks, Debbie patiently worked her magic on me. She taught me how to move my lips and tongue which I had not moved since my stroke. In other words she taught me the fundaments of how to speak again. She was a life saver. She was brilliant.

In January 2015, I started the Aphasia Clinic at Newcastle University.

The faculty there, in the Tavestock Aphasia Centre, which is situated in the George VI building, teach students in the art of speech therapy, up to and beyond degree level.

It was a 12 week clinic which helped a great deal.

The summer of 2015, I started NETA (The North East Trust for Aphasia) for one day a week.

NETA has given me back my self-confidence and belief. I try new things all the time with people who have the same ailment as me. The staff there are fantastic and I really look forward to going each week.

That's my life to date. I am slowly, but surely, recovering from my stroke.