Full speech text - Mark Speller, Best Man

Each 'paragraph' of the below should roughly correspond to a press of the space bar/forward arrow in the PowerPoint presentation (see main speeches page). No guarantees are offered of exact correspondence!

I was very pleased when Paul asked me to be one of his best men at the wedding today and I thought I'd use a few pictures to aid my speech. In particular I'm going to share my memories of Paul's earlier years.

Just to remind you all who I am - I'm Paul's younger brother.

Many of us at some time or other wondered if he had a planet of his own, but I'm reliably informed that in actual fact he was born in Dartford on Planet earth.

As he put it in his personal details online, like a music album,

his 'release date was 9th December 1978

and was written by Dave and Pat Speller'.

I think most people here would be able to relate to one or more of Paul's famous phases over the years, and I've managed to find some old photos to remind us all.

His first I recall was the Mr Men

This phase lasted more than a year as you can see from these 2 different birthdays with cakes made by our mum.

He won a fancy dress competition as Mr Topsy Turvey with gloves on his feet, socks on his hands and a hat upsidedown.

Another memorable phase was his obsession with Snoopy and Orville as you can see here with me and our grandma.

Next came another puppet, Children's BBC's Edd The Duck, seen here with Andy Peters and Simon Parkin. We both had our own Edd the Duck and, believe it or not, Paul used to insist that mine was only a puppet, whilst his was the real Edd the Duck. In case you were wondering, the bearded backing singer is our Dad.

There was a fleeting interest in popstar Neneh Cherry, but this was soon replaced with...

...The Simpsons. Here's another of our Mum's excellent birthday cakes for Paul's 13th birthday with Bart Simpson and proud of it man!

And here's a sample of his vast collection of Simpson's clothing.

Paul loved Channel 4's The Big Breakfast, so much so, that he recorded the programme every single day and watched it when he got in from school! This was the wall in his bedroom at the time, full of Big Breakfast posters and a T-shirt of the puppets Zig & Zag on the show. Paul filmed his own version of The Big Breakfast with friends and family and sent it up to Channel 4 itself who then asked him to produce a Children's edition of the real show. That's why The Big Breakfast was one of my favourite phases of Paul as we got to meet the...

...presenter Mark Little who used to be Joe Mangel in Neighbours, right here in the garden of the Big Breakfast house,

Paul also had a keen interest in sheep, with a vast collection. This is him taking it to the extreme at his drama group.

It appears his dressing up as animals has continued into recent years but the giraffe phase seems to have early origins as you can see here feeding a giraffe.

In fact, he seems to have an interest in most animals, which of course is what brings us here to London Zoo, today.

As we grew up, I was never quite sure what Paul would eventually choose as a career.

One thing was for sure it wasn't going to be a jeweller as someone had already beaten him to it, as this photo shows, in Luxembourg. I'm now going to explore some of the ideas he did have for his career.

At the age of 5, he appeared on stage with this celebrity - any guesses who it is?

Yes, you're right, it's Keith Chegwin, recently admitted to Basingstoke hospital with appendicitis, although Paul had his removed first! Paul beat several hundred contestants in a competition here at the Orchard Theatre in Dartford to get on stage with Cheggers.

Paul had a strong interest in television and film making and hired a video camera for his birthday. Here's a video camera cake, also made by Mum.

Here's Paul combining 2 of his interests, TV and politics, on the Jonathan Dimbleby show.

Still in television, Paul was a contestant on a game show on Channel 5 called Whittle.

The show was hosted by Tim Vine, one of his favourite comedians.

I'd like to show you a clip from the show, when he was interviewed, having got through to the final 10 contestants from 100. I hope you can hear it, but to help you I've added a few quick subtitles, too. He was asked "What would you change about yourself?"

Paul went on to win the star prize of £500 under the studio spotlight.

Moving away from TV into radio, Paul became a fan of DJ Mark Radcliffe on Radio 1 and visited him in his studio in Manchester, speaking on the show. He also did some DJing for the local hospital radio in Dartford.

Paul did play the trombone at one point, and here he is on the organ toying with the idea of becoming a musician.

Or perhaps a politician? As here he is in the House of Commons.

And at school, he won a mock general election with a landslide victory for the Monster Raving Looney Party earning him an article in the local paper with this photo of his clever road sign campaign, and the headline "Loony Paul top of the polls".

Acting was another big part of Paul's teenage years. He belonged to a local drama group in Wilmington called Impact. And there he was as a medieval peasant at a very early age

And later on as a police officer at his drama group. Unfortunately pictures of him as an ugly sister seem to have gone suspiciously missing.

He also dabbled with a bit of rapping here with friend, Adam Bienkov at a Haven Holiday. They went on to win a further Haven holiday for us all with their outstanding talents. They then seemed to extend their repertoire into...

Strippogramming! Don't worry Paul and Adam, the next picture in this sequence has also gone suspiciously missing!

Anyway, ultimately the driving force for his career was always going to be technology! As we can see here it started at a very early age with his Fisher Price Cassette recorder. After Paul's first class honours degree in new media production, he spent several years managing...

...Bexley Council's website until his recent promotion into financial systems.

Now moving on from his career. - During my research, I discovered a more physical side of Paul we'd all forgotten as this photo shows, with Bart Simpson's catchphrase "Aye Carumba!"

In fact he was a cub where he got a badge for his photography skills.
And this is the fastest we ever saw Paul run here at his primary school sports day!

At times, Paul was a helpful little boy:

cleaning the car,

washing the window sills and

mowing the lawn.

But he always had to have his rest afterwards even when I wanted to play with him!

Now the reason we are all here today, is that Paul has found his ideal woman.

Let's see what he turned down on the way!

This rather traditional figure obviously didn't appeal!

And nor did this curvaceous woman!

But then he discovered the internet! And started chatting to a mystery figure.

Paul was down in Bournemouth University and the mystery figure was all the way up in a place called Macduff. Until one day they met up in London and he could put a face to the mystery figure. And here they are by the London Eye on that very day on 12th July 2000. As their long distance relationship grew it involved many trips backwards and forwards - like this one with everything just about fitting in Paul's car. Down to Bournemouth - up to Macduff - back to Kent - until eventually ending up together in Crayford.

I came across this photo of Paul filming on the England Scotland border, with friends including Katie Mackay who's here today.

Little did he know then that his future wife was in the country depicted over his left shoulder here!

So in summary Paul went through a few options, and finally ended up with his ideal woman, Edith Gray.

This is Edith as a bridesmaid balancing the top tier of the wedding cake on her head. Are you going to try that one again later today, Edith?

You will have noticed from today's order of service that Edith arranged and recorded some of today's music. The hard work of lugging that big cello around and many hours of orchestral practice and performance earnt her a first class honours degree in music at Southampton University.

Paul and Edith are such a perfect match in many ways for example

Edith also had early fame appearing in her local paper for an award for being the best student at her school.

She also has a keen interest in technology.

And they have both had animal birthday cakes recently!

And finally I've like to wish them continued happiness in their lovely new house in Crayford, shown here under construction

and being decorated

but is now completed, with an amazing technological lounge.

It gives me great pleasure to call for the next toast of the day to the parents and I'd like you to all raise your glasses to toast three people who without them we wouldn't be celebrating Paul and Edith's wedding!

So would you please stand and raise your glasses to:

Paul's Mum, Pat,

Paul's Dad Dave, and

Edith's Mum, Isobel,
To the parents!

Thank you.

zoolyweds - Paul and Edith's wedding