From Thailand to Tyneside...

FROM Thailand to Tyneside – Alysha Cook's love of football is helping her to make a difference to people from all sorts of backgrounds.

After spending three weeks in Thailand using football to help teach youngsters English in areas devastated by the 2004 tsunami, she has taken her first full-time job.

The former Headlands School pupil has secured the position of Women's Girls and Disability Football Development Officer with the Northumberland and Durham County FA.

The 21-year-old said: "It's an unusual role covering the two counties, but I've got a lot of football experience and have done a lot of work for the FA and spent the last 18 months working for the West Riding County FA.

"However, it is still very overwhelming to get this job because there were so many applicants.

"One day I could be going into schools establishing links and the next I could be meeting with Sunderland about their Super League team.

"The job will go from one extreme to the other - from working with amputees to trying to get Alan Shearer to open a football festival. It's a lot to take in."

Playing football has had to go on hold for Cook, while she searched for work after completing her sport development degree at Leeds Metropolitan University.

There, she received its Global Citizenship Award for her work overseas and the way she promoted it to other students, having visited Brazil in 2008 to teach English.

She added: "Khao Lak was really devastated by the tsunami so it was a real eye opener. But I think the best way for children to learn a new language is through sport or music."

Her love of football has seen her work for the Manchester United foundation on developing women and girls football.

Now she is preparing for her new role in the North East, which officially starts on October 1, and thanked Bridlington Lions and the Lords Feoffees for their support.