An inspiring true story of a life devoted to helping Downs children. Alex Bell is a 53 year old woman who lives in Swinton, on the outskirts of Manchester. She is feisty, funny with a real firecracker of a personality. She has needed that strength of character for Alex is the adoptive mother of 8 children with Downs Syndrome or other disabilities, children who some parts of society would perhaps prefer to forget. Age 28 and unmarried, Alex adopted her first Downs child, Matthew - and became one of the first people in the UK to be approved for adoption as a single woman. Amazingly, she went on to take eight more children under her wing, Simon, Adrian, Nathan, Andrew, Chloe, Tom, Emily and Callum. Some had been through a frustratingly bureaucratic care system, or moved from one foster parent to another. It sometimes seemed an impossible challenge, but Alex was determined to give these children stability, love and the best life possible. With her down-to-earth charm, Alex also brings together the families often torn apart by Downs. She encourages the birth families to get together - some of whom have sadly turned their backs on their son or daughter, but others have now long been happily involved in their children's lives. The nine children each have unique, sometimes heartbreaking stories, but they are also the most joyful, compelling and fascinating children you're ever likely to meet: / Happy-to-lucky Matthew, 24, who takes people on tours of Man. Utd - the only Downs child to be given such a privileged position, and testament to Alex's care / Adrian, the family timekeeper and numbers wiz, as if born with a clock inside his brain / Chloe, the lovable, mischievous scamp known as Little Miss Dynamite Prepare to be amazed, moved and entranced by this powerful true story that will change the way we all look at disabilities. Alex believes special needs children are 'gifts', and spending any time with her it becomes obvious that she also has a very special gift of her own. Lead title / Alex Bell was winner of a Pride of Britain award winner in 2003. / Each of her eight children have their own unique, sometimes heartbreaking, stories. / Matthew is the first person with Downs to work for Manchester United FC, taking fans on tours of the grounds. MUFC will support the book (information confidential until publication). / Follows the bestselling novel, The Memory Keeper's Daughter about a Downs twin rejected by its birth parents which strongly echoes Matthew's real-life story. / We will approach Torey Hayden and Coleen McLoughlin for quotes / Competition: Unbreakable: My Life with Paul, A story of extraordinary courage and love by Lindsey Hunter; The Memory Keepers Daughter by Kim Edwards; Next to You: Caron's Courage Remembered by Her Mother, by Gloria Hunniford
Alex Bell is the adoptive mother of eight Downs Syndrome children whom she cares for at her home in Salford.
`In a market awash with true-life memoirs, it is refreshing to find a book that really feels different. As Alex tells each of [the childrens' ] stories, there are traumatic episodes, lots of humour and plenty of heartache - but more than anything, a genuine insight into the redemptive power of love.' The Bookseller