I was born at Kettering General and raised in Rushden, East Northamptonshire and whilst I’ve lived in the South West for a few years and the North West for over a decade, Northants holds a special place in my heart. All (well most) of my firsts happened here – drinking, parties, going out, studying etc. Skipping school in Rushden, youth theatre in Wellingborough, clubbing in Kettering, dating in Corby! Northamptonshire is one of those ‘in between’ places – there’s not necessarily a recognised accent or identity that goes along with place and as I’ve established myself up North I’ve noticed people find it hard to place me or know where I fit – am I a Southerner? Posh? A Brummie? You really have to have lived there to get it. Growing up in small town Northants it often felt too restrictive – I was dying to live in a city. Now I do I appreciate visiting family and friends in Northants even more. I think how much Rushden in particular has changed and pulled itself up by the bootstraps really impressive – for a small town it’s holding its own. Wellingborough too is starting to benefit from London commuter overspill. These towns felt quite neglected and forgotten when I was growing up and with small towns struggling around the country it’s great to see some investment in the local economy (The Lakes etc). I really hope local councils see the need to invest and protect services – I remember finishing Uni and being back at my parents. Their pc was knackered and I couldn’t afford a new laptop. I sent all my job applications and CVs around the country from the warmth of the Rushden library. It would be really awful to lose more essential services which are so so valuable to the communities they serve.