Allen is one of our Thames Valley team of reporters - taking pictures and editing the stories. He's also one of the main presenters of South Today's early, late and weekend news bulletins.
I'm a reporter now, in part, because I was so determined to prove my school careers teacher wrong.
When I told her, aged 14, that I wanted to be a journalist, she said I didn't stand a chance, and I should pursue a career in plumbing instead! With hindsight, maybe I should have listened to her - I'd have probably been richer anyway!
I started off in newspapers, working at the Reading Chronicle and the Evening Post, then moved into radio with BBC Radio Berkshire. After a short spell working on television in the West Country, I came back home to Reading to join BBC South Today.
Now my time's divided between reporting stories from Berkshire and presenting the news from the studios in Southampton.
The job has given me some incredible opportunities to experience places and things that I'd never have done otherwise. I've been to The Maldives in the days after the tsunami and Afghanistan during the early stages of the conflict there.
Both situations were upsetting because of the scale of human suffering I saw, but the stories of what was happening there were also very important to tell. It's an incredible privilege, and everywhere I've been the BBC name is held in high regard.
I was in Africa filming a group of doctors on a voluntary mission, and when the reason we were all there was explained to the gathered crowd, mention of the BBC prompted a round of applause for yours truly!
I don't have much spare time - and what I do have, I try to spend with my two children.
I stay fit by running and swimming. I've also recently been studying sign language at New Directions in Reading - formerly the local adult college - to improve my ability to communicate with a couple of deaf friends, and hopefully make many more.
last updated: 23/07/2008 at 17:18
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