Jovial former Mayor David Neve is showing no signs of giving the jokes a rest as he releases his book of speeches.
The Tunbridge Wells councillor is now selling Only the Punny Bits, a lighthearted short memoir of his year in office, to support a charity.
“I wanted to put a smile on peoples’ faces and I thought it would be a good idea to have a record of what I did as Mayor, so I wrote down all my speeches,” he said.
“As I had gone to the trouble, I thought: ‘Why not put it in a book and sell it for charity?’ – and because I had all of the speeches, it was pretty simple to get everything in place.”
Within the memoir, Cllr Neve recalls some of the highlights of the 320 events he attended during his time as Deputy Mayor from May 2015 to 2016 and as Mayor until May of 2017.
Not every occasion was suitable for a pun, and the then-Depty Mayor and Mayor took a more serious tone for some events, but also became well-known for his jokes.
The St James’s ward councillor recalls a particular highlight being one of his final outings – when he opened the refurbished pavilion of Capel Cricket Club, which saw bowling and England great Derek Underwood in attendance. In that one speech, the former Mayor said he cracked 32 puns.
Liberal Democrat Cllr Neve is not a lifelong punny man, and said he only started making quips three or four years ago, but has continued to bring his sense of humour to events he has attended since.
“I thought on becoming Mayor I will not be the worshipful whatever, I thought I can just be Mayor Dave,” he continued. “It was said to me that if you are not who you are, then you will be found out.
“Some people have said to my wife, Jill: ‘How do you put up with him?’ and indeed I used to wake up laughing because of puns I had thought up. My mind is spinning with ideas!”
Tunbridge Wells Borough Council has helped produce the run of 150 books, which are now on sale for £2 with proceeds going towards the charity Beat Eating Disorders.