A BOLTON comedian has published a book of poetry which he hopes will raise much-needed cash for a charity helping ME sufferers.

Rich Davenport’s first collection of comedy poems, Gormless, comes after a long career in stand up comedy which has seen him share stages with some of the North West’s biggest names.

Now, after suffering from ME himself, he is hoping to raise awareness of the condition while enjoying a very unlikely comeback.

“I started on the Manchester comedy scene and had got to the stage where I was semi-professional and gigging all over the country,” said Rich. “Then my ME worsened and back then you’d get doctors saying they didn’t believe it was a real condition. The main symptoms are chronic fatigue, muscle pain and it creates this ‘brain fog’ where you lose your concentration and memory.

“It got to the point where I was physically too ill to travel but before then I was gigging with people like Dave Spikey, Micky Flanagan and John Bishop.”

Thankfully Rich has now stabilised his condition and lockdown has even inspired him to start performing again by filming comedy shorts on Facebook.

“Over the years I’ve always thought about performing again and I saw they were doing these open mic nights in Morecambe so I thought I’d have a go. I can’t physically slog around the clubs anymore but if you put me on the stage I can do it! I was supposed to do my first gig for years at the Morecambe Fringe Festival but it went online so I filmed it in my house and it went down really well, won a prize and from then on I started sharing a poem every week through lockdown.”

With his poetry now published, Rich is looking forward to gigging again.

“It’s all taken off now and I’m hoping to play some shows next year,” he added. “I never expected to do comedy again but it’s such a relief that people still like what I’m doing.”

Rich’s first book of comedy poems, Gormless is available from chinbeardbooks.com. A percentage from every book will be donated to the ME Association