My accent clearly reflects my personal history. An army brat born in Germany of an Ayrshire mum and a Black Country dad, we settled in County Durham when my dad left the army when I was 7. As an adult I moved to Merseyside living on the border between Scouse and Lancashire accents (Living on the Lancashire side and working on the Scouse side for 20 years). It’s definitely Northern English-ish but using masses of dialect words picked up from my parents and squaddie phrases from all over the place.

Throughout my life I have always been accused of being the outsider, the “other”. Northerners call me a Southerner, Southerners call me a Geordie, Scousers call me a “Woolyback” Teessiders call me a Scouser and the people of St Helens, where I live, accuse me of trying to put on a posh accent!

The worst thing is, whatever people assume my accent to be, they always perceive it to be false and condescending, that I am trying to appear superior. Nothing could be further from the truth. Because of this I have spent most of my life not saying much in public and I truly believe that it has been a major contributory factor to the social phobia that I now suffer from.

I love my voice because it’s a reflection of me – my family background, my upbringing, my life journey and I won’t be changing it. My mum did that when she moved to England because her Scots was too broad and now feels like she has lost a vital part of her identity.