It was me!

By Christopher Skripek

IIn 1986, our local city newspaper The Derby Evening Telegraph ran a ¼ page article entitled ‘Vest Village – Mystery Prankster changes Weston Underwood’s name,’ and reported how locals thought the new name hilarious. A few days later, while sitting in traffic on the way to work, I was listening to the Simon Bates breakfast show on Radio 1 when the Derbyshire village caper was mentioned. The story made it into a national tabloid, and even local TV. By all accounts, the mystery prankster had really put the village on the map.

"That mystery prankster was me."

I was 22 at the time, and dating a girl in Kirk Ireton – a village in the Derbyshire hills about 10 miles from home. A friend of mine was dating another girl in the same district, so we often drove there together in my pick-up truck.

The route took us through a village called Weston Underwood, and after driving along that road so many times, my half-German mind eventually twisted the pronunciation to Veston Undervood - which quickly morphed into Vest ‘n’ Underpants. And so amongst friends, it became known as such.

Then one day I had an idea. At the time I was working as a graphic designer, and had certain skills and means at my disposal. So one night, the road sign disappeared - to my parents’ living room floor, where I created my little masterpiece. Two hours later, the sign was back in place, and as we stepped back to admire it in the beam of the headlights, we just split our sides – it was perfect. The rest is history.

Over the past 25 years, the story has become legendary in Derbyshire. But apart from family and close friends, nobody knew who the culprit was – until now.

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