Elections are highly personal - always have and always will be. The insults on the doorstep stay with you, and the small successes matter disproportionately. But I find in the thick of the campaign, and during the wash of the aftermath, I am reflecting on why I am involved. Who spurred me into this?

There are a mixed and myriad cast of characters: most formidably are my parents and in particular my mother Sally Fordham - voting was what you did, and community involvement and engagement was expected. My father has a strong sense of can-do and so when I see problems I leap straight to finding solutions - nothing too small and few things too large. My primary school headmaster Mick Brookes encouraged me to play chess and with this has gone a sense of strategy and planning and a balanced need to win. John Fordham, my head at secondary school, who patiently explained that people should seek to be judged by their actions and not their name (after I had abused my and his coincidence of surname).

 

As I grew up the Liberal Party was undergoing a resurgence and the SDP was emerging. I recall the 1979 election well and the hopes of a Thatcher premiership that was soon smashed as we dived into recession. And the loss of my own family home to that recession will remain with me always.

But with that SDP/Liberal Alliance came a new type of politician - Becky Bryan as a young, articulate and passionate advocate for Britain, Dick and Vivian Berry as warm friends who nurtured and discussed my political outlook with me in a way that made me feel adult, and then Angela Newton - a District and County Councillor who looked, listened, asked questions and led by example. But this was all thirty years ago, why does it matter now?

On Thursday the people of Spalding re-elected Cllr Angela Porter (nee Newton) - for me it was one one of the best results in Britain and one of the results that reduced me to tears of joy as I saw it come through. She has no idea how much of an icon, an inspiration and a role model she has been to me as I have explored my own views and politics. Thoughtful, determined and passionate - stubborn over the right things and reflective of the difficult things she is all that is good about politics today.

And to this list of people - many of whom I'm still in touch with - I blame you for one other thing. My own involvement. On Thursday night - now 48 years of age - I was elected as a Liberal Democrat councillor to represent the Brockwell Ward on Chesterfield Borough Council in Derbyshire.

Gosberton Clough and Risegate Primary School may have been a long time ago, Spalding Grammar School seems small now, and living in Quadring Fen, Spaldding and Pode Hole might seem a piece of my history - but for me - they were and are my foundation. Thank you.