Alan was born in East Belfast, the son of a shipyard worker. He has lived in Bangor for the past fifty years. He attended Annadale Grammar School Belfast. He is married with five children and fourteen grandchildren. He proudly served in the part-time RUCR from 1972 to 1986. He was involved in North Down amateur football in various capacities for twenty-five years and served on the IFA. Alan was elected to North Down Borough Council in 1992 as an Independent Unionist representing Ballyholme and Groomsport. In 1995/96 Alan served as Deputy Mayor and in 2000/01 was appointed Mayor. From 1998 to 2009 he served, self-funded, as the only non-USA elected Executive Director of a Washington DC humanitarian organisation called Sister Cities International. In 2009 he attracted their annual conference to Belfast, the first time it had been held outside the USA in sixty years. Almost a thousand delegates from all over the world attended. In 2016 Alan was first elected to the NI Assembly, representing North Down for the Ulster Unionist Party. He has served on the NI Policing Board, been Economy Spokesperson, currently serves on the Assembly Health Committee, and is the party health spokesperson.