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15 December 2017


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Bitterne Parker: Matt Hyam
Sunday, 14 December 2014 00:00

Matt Hyam
Matt Hyam was born in Luton. He leads the Southampton Vineyard Church, which is based at the Old Chemist in the Triangle and meets at Bitterne Park Primary School. He says he wants to see a church rooted in and serving its local community. As a local resident, with children at the schools here, he strongly believes in a thriving local community where people support and love one another. He believes that Bitterne Park is becoming an example to the rest of the city of what this could be like!


The Qs & the As

What’s your link with Bitterne Park?

I live here and have three boys in the preschool and primary school.

What’s your earliest memory of the area?

When I was a student, I got on the wrong bus once and accidentally found myself on the “other side of the river”!

How could the area be better?

A water ski school on the river. Failing that, pedestrianise the Triangle.

Tell us something we probably didn’t know already about Bitterne Park

It used to be owned by Quakers and every house has, written into the deeds, that you cannot turn it into a public house (although that may be a myth).

What’s good – or not so good – about the wider city?

I love Southampton. I love the parks and the space and the easy access to everywhere in the country – and especially that it is not Luton.

I absolutely HATE the traffic lights. I did traffic engineering at the university and so I know that these professors just LOVE traffic lights and that is why we have more than any other city in Europe. I also think that we have almost no celebration of beauty for beauty’s sake in Southampton. In Portsmouth, the gateway is an iconic sculpture. Here, it’s an empty hall of residence. We have so little art. The city is so functional (except the traffic lights which are clearly dysfunctional) and lacks celebration.

What’s your passion in life?

I love Jesus, I love my kids and my wife and I love waterskiing. I also desperately want to see a city that shines out as beautiful and full of life and where no one is lonely or in poverty (do I sound like a politician?).

How do you put bread on your table?

I work for the Vineyard Church, although I tend not to eat much bread nowadays.

What has your career taught you?

Having chosen a very downwardly mobile career, I have learned that money is not everything. “Success” doesn’t mean status or wealth and could be something that you do not see in your lifetime. That family and friends are more important. That people are more important than systems.

What really gets your goat?

Most Christian music makes me want to scream and throw things at people because it is SO AWFUL!

Also, so much injustice is just down to people who just won’t let go of stuff. If people would talk and forgive and genuinely want the best for each other, the world would be SO much better. Just say SORRY sometimes and see what happens!

How do you relax?

In the summer, I water ski. In the winter, I mope around waiting for the ski season to start again!

Which is your favourite pub?

I don’t drink much and when I do it is single malt. I love the Butcher’s Hook, but I don’t like beer, which is an issue: come on guys, you’ve been promising whiskey for ages now!

What are you drinking?

Bushmills 16-year-old triple wood whiskey, or Arran 14-year-old.

What do you listen to?

Recently, I have rediscovered INXS. I love the Killers and U2. To be honest, right now I tend to have to listen to a playlist of my boys’ favourite music, which is quite eclectic. If I could I would listen to loud funky rock music at full volume but it doesn’t go down too well with everyone else.

Can you recommend a really good read?

Bob Dylan – Chronicles: Volume One.

What’s a great day out?

A day at the lake waterskiing!

What scares you?

Since my wife died, I think what scares me most is something happening to me and not being there to raise my boys.

What would you most like to change – in the world and in yourself?

I would like to see the general populace of America being made aware of there being a “rest of the world” and that not just being the supporting cast to the life of the USA. I think that this would have an astonishing effect on the world.

I would like to be more patient and get back to being able to just be still more.

What’s on your ‘bucket list’?

I would like to be able to consistently run 14m on the slalom course (not that this will mean anything to anyone who doesn’t waterski). Most of all I would like to see my boys grow into great adults.

Tell us a joke

Why does a Frenchman only have one egg for breakfast?

Because, in France, one egg is un oeuf!

Finally, what would be another great question for other Bitterne Parkers?

Have you ever considered a Bitterne Park to St Denys triathlon? Swim across from there, cycle back and then run back to the clock tower.

Thanks so much for taking part!

Tune in next time when another Bitterne Parker answers our searching questions. But before then, do you know a Bitterne Parker we really should feature? If so, please nominate them by emailing us using the contact form, and we'll do our best. No promises, mind.

Read about other Bitterne Parkers

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0 #1 Stuart 2014-12-14 11:21
With regards the comment made by Matt Hyam - "Tell us something we probably didn’t know already about Bitterne Park - It used to be owned by Quakers and every house has, written into the deeds, that you cannot turn it into a public house (although that may be a myth)."

I happen to have just received the deeds to my house in Copsewood Road, and there is indeed a clause that "No building on any plot hereby conveyed shall be erected for or used as a tavern, beerhouse or shop for the sale of intoxicating liquors". No idea if that is a clause that is generally included anyway in such conveyances.

More worrying is the clause that "No hut, caravan, shed, house on wheels or other chattel adapted or intended for use as a dwelling or sleeping apartment nor any booths, shows, swings or roundabouts shall be erected, made, placed or used or be allowed to remain upon the premises." If I do then my neighbours on the other plots in the same conveyance "may remove or dispose of any such erection or other thing and for that purpose may break fences and forcibly enter any land upon which a breach of this stipulation shall occur and shall not be responsible for the safe keeping of anything so removed or for the loss thereof or any damage thereto." That could be an interesting conversation with the Police if I vandalised a neighbour's caravan parked on their driveway!
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