A retired regional newspaper sub-editor who started a one-man crusade against bad punctuation has been included in a calendar celebrating Britain’s most boring men.
John Richards spent much of his working life correcting the spelling and grammar in reporters’ copy from a host of regional newspapers including The Argus, Reading Post, Nottingham Post, West Sussex Gazette and West Sussex County Times.
His campaign to correct misuse wherever it occurs led to the self-confessed pedant founding the Apostrophe Protection Society in 2001.
Now the grammar custodian – alongside a drain spotter, traffic cone enthusiast and milk bottle collector – will feature in the 2015 Dull Men’s Club calendar.
The club, which has more than 5,000 male members passionate about everyday mundane things, decided to publish the tongue-in-cheek calendar to highlight the dozen dullest in the organisation.
Assistant vice-president Leland Carlson said: “We wanted to have a bit of fun. The British are well known for being eccentric and this calendar is a celebration of that.”
October’s star is John who, for the calendar shoot, is pictured examining a sign outside a pub for apostrophe abuse.
John has taken it upon himself to lead a solo campaign – delivering a polite letter on headed Apostrophe Protection Society notepaper through the door of anyone he finds breaking the rules in Boston, Lincolnshire, where he lives.
He said: “I walk around town and see so many misplaced or omitted apostrophes it beggars belief.
“The local fruiterer sells pounds of banana’s, the public library, of all places, had a sign saying CD’s – even Tesco was promising 1000?s of products at reduced prices.”
He now chairs the group, which provides advice on the correct use of apostrophes via its website.
“Within a month of my plaint appearing in a national newspaper, I received over 500 letters of support, not only from all corners of the United Kingdom, but also from America, Australia, France, Sweden, Hong Kong and Canada,”reads a comment from John on the society’s web page.
“The little apostrophe deserves our protection.”