2013 has been a blast…here’s to 2014!

December 31, 2013 § Leave a comment

Me at Lib Dem Conference, in Glasgow, in September.

Me at Lib Dem Conference, in Glasgow, in September.

Well, what a year eh?

So much has happened that it’s literally impossible to try and cover it all here, so instead I’m going to pinpoint a few highlights.

First of all it’s remained (and remains) the greatest honour of my professional life to represent the good people of Barwell as their Councillor; in March, as the Barwell representative on HBBC’s Planning Committee, I was proud to successfully propose an important new development for my village, which will bring in almost £40million of inward investment…including vitally needed new infrastructure!

I was also proud to vote, along with colleagues, for thousands of new jobs coming into the Borough and-after years of people talking about it but not delivering-to vote for a new Bus Station development in Hinckley.

A Lib Dem administration delivering for the people of Hinckley and Bosworth!

I’m also proud of our Lib Dem-run Parish Council in Barwell and, especially, our newest Councillor-elected in a by-election in February-Charlotte Green who, I think, is going to have a very bright future in our Party.

Meanwhile, in 2013, I’ve traveled up and down the Country with the Lib Dems, from Manchester, to Brighton, Birmingham, to Glasgow; all in the name of spreading the good name of Liberal Democracy.

Autumn Federal Conference, in Glasgow, in September, was a particular highlight…making my Conference floor debut, asking a question to the Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg (about free transport for young people, since you asked) and also appearing on a number of national news/politics programmes: BBC Parliament, 5 News, The Daily Politics, and a live edition of Newsnight.

Earlier this year I also appeared on The Big Questions and, recently, on the East Midlands opt-out of The Sunday Politics.

In the run-up to Conference I was exceptionally honoured to be shortlisted for the Lib Dem Voice website’s Lib Dem Councillor of the Year.

Although the title itself went to someone else, even to be shortlisted was wonderful and very affirming that all my hard work is appreciated.

I’ve also been fortunate to be able to indulge another passion…writing.

I’ve written for, among others, The Guardian, the New Statesman’s Staggers blog, and PinkNews-Europe’s Largest Gay News Service.

I’m proud to be part of a number of organisations which do tremendous work and was honoured, earlier this year, to become a Director of Republic-The Campaign for an Elected Head of State, whilst continuing as a Council Member of the Social Liberal Forum, a pressure group within the Liberal Democrats.

Locally, I’m so very proud of the work we’ve achieved on moving forward with ensuring we provide the best service we can for the LGBT community in Hinckley and Bosworth.

Proud Generation (part of Next Generation, of whom I’m a Management Committee member) continued its locally groundbreaking work as the Borough’s first LGBT Advocacy and Advice service.

Meanwhile I also created a little bit of history, bringing the first LGBT item to my Council’s Scrutiny Commission…and making a speech talking about my experience of Coming Out a couple of years ago.

I was also proud this year to become Coordinator of Lib Dems For A Republic and Cofounding, with my lovely mate Matt Whittles, Fairtrade Future, the Fairtrade movement within the Liberal Democrats.

Also, there’s far too many highlights to mention, over the past year, in my HBBC roles of Children and Young People’s Champion and Fairtrade Champion.

Outside of politics, I’ve loved all the things I’ve been able to do locally…including Co-Chair Barwell Carnival with the fantastic Alison Poxon, and helping to organise/compere a number of events, including ‘Brass On The Grass’ and ‘Barwell Schools Sing Christmas,’ as well as being part of two shows directed by the fabulous and lovely Jenni Hunt.

Another joy was being able to meet and work with Love Hinckley, a group set up to help promote local Small and Medium Sized businesses…here’s to the two ladies behind it, Cathy Phayres and Clare Farrell.

In work, it’s remained an honour to be a member of staff at local charity, The George Ward Centre.

And finally, but most importantly of all, I couldn’t do any of this without the love and support-and occasional much needed guidance-of my family and friends.

You mean more to me than I can say!

So, that was 2013…here’s to an even busier and more fantastic 2014!

Cheers!

Mathew.

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