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Newbury MP invites Great Shefford radio host to House of Commons

A radio host from Great Shefford has been invited to visit Parliament after interviewing a Conservative MP.

Paul Allen, 66, contacted Laura Farris, the MP for Newbury since 2019, in July and received a reply from her office within weeks.

During their interview, Mrs Farris discussed her political career, her stance on domestic abuse during lockdown and what daily life consists of for a semi-rural MP.

Podcaster Paul Allen in his home studio
Podcaster Paul Allen in his home studio

Mr Allen conceived the idea for his podcast 'Paul Presents' in 2014, when his health condition started to deteriorate. Mr Allen has a rare form of CRPS, a neurological condition affecting his central nervous system that is similar to MS.

He has more than 42 years of voluntary broadcasting experience and records his weekly podcast with the help of his wife Jan, 63, who runs her own not-for-profit online community newsletter.

Mr Allen received a community grant from Greenham Trust to set up a professional home recording studio, and has so far released 198 podcasts.

Podcaster Paul Allen in his home studio
Podcaster Paul Allen in his home studio

He has interviewed a wide range of respected community figures, including artists, musicians, business owners and politicians. Guests that have appeared on his show include Richard Benyon, the former Conservative MP for Newbury (2005-2019), Hamstead Marshall historian Penny Stokes and Karl Hansen, the executive director of Hampstead Norrey's Living Rainforest.

Mr Allen said: "The first podcast I recorded was when I interviewed myself, and for the second I interviewed David Seward, the CEO of Berkshire Youth.

"I started working at Newbury District Hospital and then I moved to Royal Berkshire Hospital in Reading. I worked in the farming industry before working for the NHS."

A date for his Parliamentary visit is yet to be decided, as Mr Allen's limited mobility means travel is challenging.

Mr and Mrs Allen welcome guest bloggers for their newsletter and guests for their podcasts.

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