I was born in Saxilby near Lincoln in 1974 and I’m currently coming to terms with being 40. stat

I attended Yarborough High School in Lincoln before attending De Montfort University and University of Leeds graduating with a BA (Hons) in Agricultural Business Management.

I worked as a window cleaner and data input clerk at a perfume factory before landing a job as Farming Correspondent for the Lincolnshire Echo.

Soon after became a general news reporter and later news editor working at a number of newspapers and websites, local and national, before joining the Leicester Mercury as Head of News in 2003.

I stayed with the Leicester Mercury and was most recently Night Editor with extra responsibilities for growing audiences through social media and community engagement. I also helped edit WAVE, the UK’s first newspaper written entirely by young people during this time. I took voluntary redundancy in 2012 to pursue a new career, becoming manager of De Monfort University’s Square Mile programme – aiming to connect the community with the research and academic skills of DMU.

The programme has won national and international awards, including a Guardian University Award for Community Contribution in 2014.

My personal interests include watching my beloved Hertha Berlin football team and Leicester City. I also love Mod and Punk subcultures and I have written extensively on youth cults from the Hell’s Angels to Skinheads.

I began my PhD research into the relationship between communities and universities in October 2014.