Mathew on Monday column: Be an upstander, not a bystander, in the fight against homophobia, biphobia and Transphobia

Mathew Hulbert | Columnist | 9 May 2022

WELCOME to Mathew on Monday.

Mathew, with a poster of his poem penned for the exhibition, titled ‘Our Bodies. Our Lives. Our Rights’. (Image: Mathew Hulbert)


As you may have seen reported on this website last night, there is currently an exhibition on at the wonderful Atkins Building in Hinckley marking the International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia and Transphobia (IDAHoBiT.)

Sadly all of these things continue to be a scourge on our society and we must always stand against this discrimination and for equality, diversity and inclusion.

But it shouldn’t be left just to those of us who are LGBT+ to take on this fight.

We need allies to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with us too.

Why?

Because none of us are equal until all are equal.

And that continuing inequality, that failure to recognise and indeed celebrate diversity, therefore diminishes us all; whether gay or straight and whether Trans or Cis.

We should strive for a world in which every inidvidual is able to be the truest and fullest expression of themselves.

We’ve come a long way already, for sure.

Within the lifetime of my parents homosexuality was illegal.

Now, if I were to meet a man and fall in love we could marry.

That is quite some journey and has only been achieved because of countless brave campaigners down the decades; some high profile and well known and others we may never know the names of but who, nonetheless, helped us take each step along the way to where we are.

For as far as we’ve come, however, the yellow brick road to full equality for all continues to stretch out in front of us, long into the distance.

Especially when it comes to justice, recognition, dignity and equality for Trans and non-binary individuals and communities.

The vile, senseless, shameful, unceasing, depressing, enraging, coordinated media (traditional and new) campaign against Trans and non-binary people is one of the most despicable and wide-ranging forms of bullying I can remember in the public sphere.

It is a disgrace; which all decent people, of every background and political persuasion, should condemn and condemn utterly.

Trans and non-binary individuals deserve love and support, not hate and ridicule.

I, as a Cis gay man, will always stand shoulder-to-shoulder with my Trans and non-binary friends.

Just as it was Trans women who were at the forefront of the original Stonewall riots which were the beginnings of the modern gay rights movement.

But what about you?

Where do you stand?

What will you do?

Part of the exhbition is a piece of writing by me, which concludes thus:

‘So, be an ally.

Be a friend.

Be an upsander, not a bystander.

Know that none are equal until all are equal.

Don’t just look around this exhbition.

Decide to act.

To be in our corner.

To be on our side.

Because we are you.

And you are us.

Love Always Wins. x ‘

The first thing you can do is go and see the exhibition.

It’s free and on until May the 17th.

Take the first step as an ally.

You never known where it might lead.

Thank you.  

Mathew on Monday column: “Cheers and jeers: Reflecting on Wrestling in Hinckley’s Biggest Show of the Year”

Mathew Hulbert | Columnist | 25 April 2022

I remember, as a boy, watching professional wrestling on ITV most Saturday afternoons.

Mathew Hulbert ringside (Image: Vaughan Moore)

Cheering Big Daddy and jeering Giant Haystacks.

In those days it was very clear most of the time who the ‘good’ guys were and who the ‘baddies’ were…or, to use wrestling parlance, the baby faces and the heels.

In 2022, in the big American wrestling federations WWE, AEW etc, it’s not always quite so clear cut.

The fans get used to a certain amount of fluidity between the good, the bad and the stridently indifferent.

Back home in Blighty, however, things tend to be much more clear cut.

And so it was, earlier this month, at Wrestling in Hinckly’s latest outing.

Not just any old WiH show. Oh, no. But, in fact, their certainly not undersold ‘Biggest Show of the Year.’

Myself and Vaughan Moore (also of this parish) were mere feet away from the ring, ready for the action.
And what an evening it was.

Thrills, spills…and that was just my can of coke, which the ring announcer (bless him) came and mopped up in the break after I managed to knock it over with one of my clod-hoppers.

I did worry for a moment that, as a punishment, the self-same ring announcer (I don’t know his name, but he has the best shoes in all of British wrestling in my humble opinion) was going to put me in a match against The Judge.

Now that truly would be a super-heavyweight encounter!

Talking of The Judge, he was defending the prestigious Wrestling in Hinckley championship against everyone’s favourite Dominita in an intergender match-up.

I say everyone’s favourite but, me being as contrary as ever, I decided to back The Judge.

According to Vaughan this made me a ‘heel,’ but I like to think it just means I’m capable of critical thinking and deciding who I want to win any particular contest.

I thought The Judge might acknowledge my support but, alas, that didn’t happen.
In the end, after a hard fought fight, which included the use of a stapler and some lego (yes, you read me right), Dominita was crowned victorious and became the brand new WiH Champion.

I may not have supported her on this particular occasion, but she is clearly a worthy champion and I look forward to her defending the belt in the coming months.

As for The Judge, he’ll be very displeased with this result and will be waning to pass judgement on his next opponents.

I live in hope that, before the end of the year, we’ll see him take on my personal WiH favourite, the sublime Mr Sam Best.

That’d be Best’s biggest challenge but I think he can rise to it.

Sam was also in action at the ‘Biggest Show of the Year,’ in a grudge match against the certainly not safe ‘Mr Health and Safety’ Alex Connors.

Connors is that unpopular here in Hinckley that he literally bought his own family with him to cheer him on.

I can’t possibly confirm or deny reports that a man looking remarkably like me treated these Connors relatives with what I believe in cricketing parlance is known as ‘sledging.’

After Connors badly injured Best at ‘Fear of Falling’ earlier this year (storyline wise…just think ‘Corrie’ or ‘Eastenders’) Sam got his win and his revenge this time around.

In other contests, Kieran Young defeated crowd favourite Steve Valentino (who, before the match, almost ended up in my lap when he lost his footing when he climbed on some empty seats in the row just in front of where I sat…not that I’d have complained too much, as he is seriously fit and smelt great. Hahahaha.)

Jason Joshua retained his strangely named Subjective Championship over Ashley Dunn.

Joshua’s next challenge will come from Mia Cortez, who won a six-person scramble match to become the No.1 contender.

And Joey Scott and Reece Riley got the best of the debuting BDK.

The fans cheered the good guys and girls, jeered the bad guys and a fantastic time was had by all.

Here’s to the next WiH event in June. I can’t wait!

Mathew on Monday column – “In these tough times, a couple of hours of unreality is very welcome”

Mathew Hulbert | Columnist | 14 February 2022

HAPPY MONDAY, dear reader.

Wrestling in Hinckley match (Image: Mason Moore) / Inset (Image: Mathew Hulbert)

Some people jump out of bed on a Monday morning, excited about the prospects of a new week.

Others dread the start of a new week and hit the ‘sleeper’ button on on their alarm several times before getting up.

I understand both points of view, but will say I’m more like the latter than the former.

Especially during these difficult days, when pulling the quilt over your head and having a few more Zzz’s appears a far more attractive option than waking up to hear the latest news on the pandemic or Party-Gate and so on.

We’ve come through a lot these last two years and almost everyone knows someone who has either died with/from Covid 19 or who has been affected in other ways, such as the loss of a job or a business.

These have been and are tough times and sometimes we have to paint a smile on our faces, walk out the front door and face the new day with a knotted feeling in our stomachs.

That being the case, the prospect of a couple of hours of mindless entertainment, of unreality rather than reality, can be very welcome.

So it was for me this past Saturday.

Come late afternoon/early evening, there I was, beer in hand (just the one!), sat in a seat just mere feet away from blokes (apart from the iconic ‘Dominita’) dressed in tiny spandex costumes, pretending to knock lumps out of each other in a ring.

Yup, I was watching some good old British wrestling.

Brought to use by the good folks at Wrestling in Hinckley.

Their latest show, the first I’ve seen in person, was called ‘Fear of Falling’ and was held at Hastings High School in Burbage.

A tournament of four qualifying matches, with the four victors going through to the main event which, as the name of the tournament might suggest, involved the fellas having to use ladders to reach a briefcase suspended high above the ring (think WWE’s annual ‘Money in the Bank’ match), to win themselves a contract they can cash in at any time over the next year for a championship match.

No spoilers here, as those who want to watch it but missed the show will be able to catch it on ‘the Netflix of wrestling’ streaming service Powered 4 TV soon, but the guy who wins it all is a handsome chap who took an almighty bump (I believe that’s the right parlance) part way through the contest and I thought was out of it altogether until he made a heroic comeback.

My favourite, another good-looking fella (not that I go to the wrestling just to gaze at fit fellas, you understand), ended up with an ‘injury’ after being attacked by another bloke who didn’t even make it through to the final.

The clear fan favourite of the night, however, wasn’t any of the blokes but rather the aforementioned Dominita.

She took on the Wrestling in Hinckley Champion…a man known as ‘The Judge’ but I somehow fear you’re unlikely to see him if you ever find yourself in the dock.

This was an intergender match and it certainly didn’t disappoint.

Though, I have to say, I was distracted by this young lad, sat in a seat behind me, who must be the biggest Dominita fan in the world and who was shouting his support for her at the top of his lungs.

But, that’s what it’s all about, right?

Rather like panto or EastEnders, we watch it knowing it’s a bit silly, knowing it’s not ‘real,’ knowing it’s pre-scripted…but loving it nonetheless.

And, I’ve gotta say, the acrobatics the guys did with, from and onto those ladders reaffirmed to me that scripted it may well be, but the risks they take for our entertainment are all too real.

Thanks to Mason Moore and his brother Vaughan, both of this parish, for inviting me along.

Wrestling in Hinckley’s next event, in April, is called their ‘Biggest Show of the Year.’

I think i’ll be back in the stands, beer in hand, watching the stars do their thing.
Because we all need a bit of escapism, right?

See you back here in a fortnight, grapple fans!

Mathew on Monday column – ‘Partygate: Bosworth’s Tory MP must call on the Prime Minister to resign’

Mathew Hulbert | Columnist | 31 January 2022

FOR THE last almost two years my elderly mother, who lives in Barwell, has followed the lockdown rules to the letter; even when seriously ill in the middle of last year, when I wasn’t able to initially visit her when she was recuperating in a care home regaining her strength before being allowed home.

Main image (Image: Mathew Hulbert) / Dr. Luke Evans (Image: Mirror) / Boris Johnson (Image: Parliament UK)

That was heartbreaking, but it was what the rules said so we followed them.

Other families, of course, sadly had it far, far worse.

Not able to hold the hand of a loved one as they breathed their final breaths, not able to attend funerals, not able to be at some of the most moving and precious moments of loved ones and friends lives.

Families up and down the land followed the rules as laid down by the government.

The same government we now know for sure, following the albeit only partial publication of Sue Gray’s report today, were having parties at the very heart of the UK Government-10 Downing Street-which broke the rules they themselves had set.

As the Gray report makes clear, there was:

• Behaviour which is ‘difficult to justify’

• A ‘failure of leadership’

• Also that ‘some of the events should not have been allowed’

• And that ‘the excessive consumption of alcohol is not appropriate’

Just re-read those findings and remember that this wasn’t in a university students union, rather it was at the very heart of Government.

And today, instead of coming to the House of Commons and offering a full and complete apology and then resigning, we had the usual bluff and bluster; in one of the most disgraceful parliamentary performances I can ever remember watching, in almost thirty years of watching proceedings in Parliament.

I pay tribute to those Conservative MPs, including former Prime Minister Theresa May and former Chief Whip Andrew Mitchell, who stood up and-to his face-condemned the Prime Minister and others in 10 Downing Street for their behaviour.

Calling out your own side is never easy; I know that from when, in very different circumstances, I publicly bemoaned some of what my own party-the Liberal Democrats-agreed to as part of the 2010-15 Conservative/Lib Dem Coalition Government.

Politics is a team game and the sense of loyalty is, of course, very strong.

But those Tory MPs who are still defending this Prime Minister need to remember that they have a much more important loyalty to consider…that towards their constituents and our country as a whole.

This Prime Minister is unfit for high office. He should go. Now.

If today is anything to go by, he still believes he can bluster his way through and remain in the post.

The time has now come for Bosworth’s Tory MP and many more of his colleagues to put country before party, call on Boris Johnson to go, and-if he won’t-to force him out.

If they don’t, I suggest, they may never be forgiven.

“It’s up to all of us!”

Mathew Hulbert | Columnist | 1 November 2021

Welcome to ‘Mathew on Monday.’

(Image: Mathew Hulbert)

As you may have seen, scores of World Leaders are in Glasgow for what’s called the Cop 26 summit on Climate Change – Cop stands for ‘Conference of the Parties.’

Ordinarily it would have happened last year, but was postponed because of the pandemic.

It sees a high-level set of meetings, across the next two weeks, of heads of governments and their representatives.

As well as the formal talks there are lots of informal meetings going on, in Glasgow itself and online, where business representatives, activists, campaigners and especially young people-who’ll live with the impact of Climate Change the longest if nothing is done-and others are adding their voices to the millions-if not billions-worldwide who are calling for urgent action to be taken to avert a climate catastrophe.

I myself am set to take part in two virtual meetings running alongside Cop; one, organised by UNA-UK (the United Nations Association British branch) entitled ‘From Local to Global-Raising ambition and taking action to uphold the Paris agreement’ and the Cop 26 Regional Roadshow East Midlands-Climate Innovation and Investment.

I hope to learn a lot at these important online gatherings, as well as speaking up myself about why the world can’t wait any longer to take the actions necessary to halt global warming at 1.5 degrees.

Anything more than that, this Century, could be truly cataclysmic for many parts of the world; especially the poorest nations of the world who, in a truly tragic irony, have done the least to cause global warming but are being adversely affected the most.

Western nations-or the global North, as we’re also known-bear the greatest responsibility for putting dangerous levels of carbon into the atmosphere over recent Centuries and must be the ones to take the lead in rapidly reducing those emissions.

Leicester-educated natural word broadcaster, the Great Sir David Attenborough, speaking to the world leaders at Cop 26 earlier today, said the Climate Emergency was “a story of inequality, as well as instability.”

But he also said “our motivation should not be fear, but hope.”

Hope because, for all of the rightly dire predictions if nothing is done, we do still have time, just, in this vital decade, to take the action needed to avert the globe warming at unacceptable levels.

Hope because a Green New Deal could and would see thousands of new, well-paying jobs created in wind and solar and a host of other new environmentally-friendly technologies.

Hope because we can restore our environment and increase biodiversity; showing our love and care for all living things.

Hope because our young people-led by the inspiring Greta Thunberg-have taken to the streets and raised their voices in support of action…of action not tomorrow, but today. Now. And they, rightly, will accept nothing less.

Hope because that’s what we must cling on to in age where, all too often, cynicism wins the day and it’s so easy to feel too tired and jaded to keep up the fight.

Hope.

But whilst, looked at globally, it can be easy to feel hopeless in the face of a changing climate and too many political leaders who put their own electoral fortunes above rescuing our planet from potential disaster, locally we can do our bit to help the cause.

So often I hear, “well why should I get involved, when the leader’s of the world’s worst carbon emitting nations are sitting back and watching the world burn?”

And in one sense that rationale is hard to argue with.

The leaders of China, Brazil and Russia are not at the table (though some have sent low level representatives) and, yes, tackling this crisis without them board is very difficult indeed.

But we still must try.

Including in our daily lives, right here in Hinckley and Bosworth.

In my role as a Parish Councillor in Barwell, I’m on the authority’s Climate Change Working Group and we’ve been planting saplings, wildflowers and encouraging biodiversity and soon hope to work with schools in our village to encourage children to think about what more their families may be able to do.

I’ve also been looking at ways to encourage Active Travel, such as walking and cycling, locally.

At principle authority level, Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council are in the process of installing more electric vehicle charging points, encouraging more people to trade in their gas guzzling, carbon-emiting vehicles for an environmentally friendly vehicles.

And, at a personal individual level, as an SDG (Sustainable Development Goals) Campaigner, I’ve signed a Global Goals pledge to reduce my food waste and only buy what I need.

Will you pledge to take action in your own lives too?

As the late, great former U.S. President John F. Kennedy once said, in a different context, “We do these things not because they are easy, but because they are hard.”

The youth of the world and generations still yet unborn will never forgive those of us around today if we don’t do what’s necessary.

There is no Planet B.

Just this earth.

This beautiful evolved creation.

As President Biden ended his address to the Conference this afternoon by saying, “God bless you and may God save the planet.”

Amen.

“In defence of the BBC”

Mathew Hulbert | Columnist | 4 October 2021

Welcome to ‘Mathew on Monday.’

This might seem a strange thing for someone whose years in professional broadcast journalism were spent entirely in commercial radio, but I love the BBC.

Maybe it’s because of some of the limitations of the commercial media landscape that I truly appreciate the jewel in the Crown, so to speak, that the British Broadcasting Corporation.

Now, of course, commercial broadcasters have their place and exist in a very competitive market place and I’m very proud indeed of my half-decade working as a reporter and news reader for a group of commercial radio stations in the Midlands and the journalism myself and my then colleagues produced as a very small team.

From my interviewing then Prime Minister Gordon Brown, then opposition leader and future Prime Minister David Cameron, to breaking stories and fronting fifteen minute news programmes…something unheard of on commercial music radio today.

But the BBC thanks, yes, to the unique and special way it is funded is quite rightly beloved by the nation and, thanks to BBC World News TV and BBC World Service radio, the world too.

It is, quite simply, the best broadcaster in the world.

From its unrivalled domestic and international news coverage, to its sporting output, coverage of the arts and culture, its mammoth online output, its dedicated programmes for younger viewers, and so much more.

Not forgetting of course the BBC’s regional TV programmes, such as in our patch ‘East Midlands Today’ and ‘Politics East Midlands’ both of which I’ve appeared on and it’s local radio stations; with the fantastic BBC Radio Leicester covering our county, again on which I’m occasionally a guest.

Now, the BBC isn’t perfect. 

No human organisation ever it is.

Sometimes it makes mistakes that make you cringe.

But at true national moments of celebration and commemoration we, in our tens of millions, turn to good old Auntie.

I was reading the press release over the weekend of the special and unrivalled coverage the BBC is going to be providing of the upcoming COP26 Climate Conference taking place in Glasgow.

Across TV, radio and online; from BBC Breakfast in the morning, through The One Show in the evening, to Newsnight at the end of the day; from special one off programmes to online global interactive forums, no one else can do what the BBC can.

There are, sadly, those who oppose the BBC and the way it is funded; they want to privatise it, sell bits of it off or close it down altogether.

They say it won’t exist in ten years time and that it won’t deserve too because it is ‘biased’ in its coverage of the big issues of the day.

But when politicians of both Left and Right accuse the Corporation of bias, as they regularly do, isn’t that actually proof that it is doing its job properly.

The almost a Century old BBC is part of what makes me and mullions of others so proud of being British.

Of being open and outward looking, of our diversity, of our unique humour and wry way of looking at the world, of our world leading artists, film makers and musicians; many of which the BBC supports.

We need the BBC and these values that it upholds now more than ever before.

We lose it at our peril.

“When the global is also local”

Mathew Hulbert | Columnist | 20 September 2021

Welcome to ‘Mathew on Monday.’

(Image: Mathew Hulbert)

This is a very big week when it comes to addressing the big global challenges that affect us as a human race now in 2021 and looking ahead to the following nine years of this decade.

Why is that?

Because today sees the start of the UN (United Nations) General Assembly High Level Week; which sees world leaders meeting, both in person and online, to discuss and decide on how we, as governments, Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs), communities and individual citizens best act to address the Climate Emergency, to end extreme hunger and poverty in the poorest parts of the world, to treat refugees and asylum seekers more humanely, to recover from the Covid-19 global pandemic, to protect the rights of minority communities, and much else besides. 

As part of that, today the UN Secretary-General, Antonio Gueteres, said: “The world is challenged like never before.”

He went on: “It would be easy to lose hope. But we are not hopeless. Or helpless. We have a path to recovery. If we choose to take it.”

He was speaking at the launch of The SDG Moment, being held online today.

As the UN states: ‘The Sustainable Development Goals are a blueprint for fighting poverty and hunger, confronting the Climate crisis, achieving gender equality and much more, within the next ten years. At a time of great uncertainty, the SDGs show the way forward to a strong recovery from Covid-19 and a better future for all on a safe and healthy planet.’

So, what are the Sustainable Development Goals?

They are seventeen interlinked global Goals, set in 2015 and intended to be achieved by 2030.

Here they are:

1. End poverty.

2. Zero hunger.

3. Good Health and Wellbeing.

4. Quality Education.

5. Gender Equality.

6. Clean Water and Sanitation.

7. Affordable and Clean Water.

8. Decent Work and Economic Growth.

9. Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure.

10. Reduced Inequalities.

11. Sustainable Cities and Communities.

12. Responsible Consumption and Production. 

13. Climate Action. 

14. Life Below Water.

15. Life On Land.

16. Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions.

17. Partnerships for the Goals. 

So, what does any of this mean for us here in Hinckley and Bosworth?

Why should we care?

Because, in 2021, in an increasingly interdependent world, where no country is an island in that sense including those, like the UK, that are actual islands; in other words there’s no saying ‘stop the world, we want to get off,’ the global is also local.

The change to the global climate changing may not yet have had catastrophic consequences here in the English East Midlands but it will if the world doesn’t act.

Just look at the changing seasons, disrupted food supply and so on. 

All of those SDGs listed above, to a greater or lesser extent, is and are as meaningful and important to our children, families and their futures as they are to those of what we still call the ‘Developing World.’

And, even if they weren’t, it should be part of our basic humanity to want the best for a child in a far flung part of the world as we do our own young relatives.

So what’s happening at the UN in New York and globally online this week affects citizens here in Hinckley and Bosworth as much as anywhere else.

Which is one of the reasons why I’m looking forward tomorrow and for the next three days to virtually attending the Global People’s Assembly; which is running alongside the General Assembly High Level Week and gives citizens from across the world a chance to have our say on what the UN’s priorities should be and what part we’ll play as individuals and communities in addressing the challenges which, yes, are global in nature but, increasingly, are truly local too.

“Our diversity is our strength!”

Mathew Hulbert | Columnist | 6 September 2021

Welcome to my second ‘Mathew on Monday’ column, here on the Hinckley Free Press.

Mathew Hulbert (left), with Leicester Pride attendees (right) (Image: Mathew Hulbert)

This past Saturday saw one of my favourite days of the year take place; Leicester Pride.

Due to the pandemic it wasn’t possible for it to be held in person last year (though an online version did take place), so it was even more special this weekend to see so many people marching for LGBT+ equality through the streets of Leicester and then enjoying the festivities on Victoria Park.

I saw lots of familiar faces, many of which I’d not seen in person since pre-pandemic.

LGBT+ people and our allies from across Leicester, Leicestershire and Rutland and beyond, gathered to stand in solidarity with LGBT+ communities across the country and around the world; especially the seventy countries where it remains illegal to be gay and the handful where it is punishable by death.

Pride is a colourful party but it is always also a protest.

A protest because there is still a very long way to go until there is full equality for all LGBT+ communities everywhere, wherever in the world.

There are still homophobic attacks here in the UK, there is rising transphobia including, disgracefully, in much of our media; both traditional and new.

Young LGBT+ people are still sometimes thrown out of the family home after coming Out to their families.

And, as I’ve already referenced, the sadly all too many parts of the world where to be LGBT+ is to face persecution.

So, for all the steps forward that have been taken over the years, none are equal until all are equal and we’ll march and campaign until the day comes when all can be their true and full selves and love who they love in peace and safety.

I think especially at this time of LGBT+ people in Afghanistan, whose lives are under constant threat from the Taliban following the withdrawal of American and other Western troops from the country.

Our government, and those of other allies, must do all they can to bring them to safety.

I’m blessed, through a number of voluntary community roles I hold, to be able to spend a lot of my time championing LGBT+ rights and equality across our Borough, throughout Leicestershire, and beyond.

I get to work with some fantastic advocates for the cause, some of whom I got a chance to catch up with at Pride on Saturday.

They are all committed to diversity, equality and inclusion.

At Pride, Leicester showed itself once again to be an example to the rest of the country that our diversity is our strength.

I’m already looking forward to next year’s Pride!

I’ll be back on Monday, September 20th with my next column.

Remember, if you have any feedback you can email me via mhulbert1980@gmail.com

Until the next time, ta da.

“So, who is this Mathew fella?”

Mathew Hulbert | Columnist | 23 August 2021

Hi folks,

(Image: HFP)

Welcome to my first ‘Mathew on Monday’ column, here on the Hinckley Free Press.

Firstly I’d like to thank the Editor of this website, Mason Moore, for affording me the opportunity of writing 500 or so words to you biweekly from now on.

So, who am I?

Well, I’m 41 years old.

Born in Leicester, I’ve lived in Barwell my whole life.

Soon I will move to my own place in Hinckley, which I’m really looking forward to and about which there’ll be much more to come in future columnns.

I graduated with a Bachelor of Arts with Honours from Nottingham Trent University in 2002 and worked as a news reader and reporter with a group of commercial radio stations in the Midlands from 2004 to 2009.

Again, more about my years in journalism and some of the well known people I interviewed during that time to come in future weeks.

I’m now proud to work in the charity sector.

After my time in journalism the lure of politics-with which I’d always had a strong interest-pulled me in and, in 2011, I was elected as both a Borough and a Parish Councillor.

I held those roles until 2015 and was again elected as a Parish Councillor in 2019 and am currently the Vice Chair of Barwell Parish Council.

Though I will discuss issues in this column, I will endeavour not to be party political.

As what matters to me most are positive outcomes for communities, not political point-scoring.

I’m an Uncle to seven and a Great Uncle to two.

I’m an Out and proud gay man and an active LGBT+ Rights Campaigner.

I hold a number of roles in the community and believe very strongly in giving back and serving others.

In my spare time I enjoy reading, going to the cinema, spending time with my nephews and nieces, and binge watching series on various streaming services.

So, that’s me.

Here, at your service, every other Monday from now on.

Start your week with me and let’s begin it as we mean to go on.

You can follow me on Twitter via @MathewHulbert.

You can also email me via, mhulbert1980@gmail.com.

It’d be great to hear from you.

See you on September 6th.

Until then, ta da.