Sheffield printer helps Rally Champion raise funds for Parkinson's UK

07 Dec


A Sheffield printer is helping a former British rally driver raise funds for Parkinson’s UK by keeping his book about being crowned British Champion in print.

Alistair Sutherland Mensa Printers Web

George Dawn and Alistair Sutherland with the orginal Rally Car that Alistair won the Championship in in 1986.

Against all the odds, Matlock resident Alistair Sutherland was crowned British Group B Rally Car Champion in 1986. Alistair’s book, Chance of a Lifetime, tells the epic story of him coming from last place in category in the first race to winning the title by six seconds and beating all the big names along the way.

“Winning the Championship was literally a chance of a lifetime for me. I was handed the opportunity to drive the 3-litre engine Metro 6R4 for the season. It was a car I’d never even sat in a few hours before the first race! It was an amazing year and experience with every conceivable obstacle and thrill met along the way. When I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s in 2008, I thought it would be good to tell the story and try to raise some funds for the charity at the same time. Thanks to the help I’ve had from George Dawn at Mensa Printers I’ve managed raise over £2,500, but I want to raise more, which is why we are bringing out a revised edition,” says Alistair.

“When Alistair told me about his plan to publish a book and raise funds for Parkinson’s I offered to help. Unlike conventional printers who may offer to print a bulk load of books, we keep our clients’ books in print by keeping the copy on file and printing short runs as and when they are needed. This means Alistair has been able to order books when he expects to sell them and when he gets orders. It’s cost effective and allows the book to be available for years after it would have normally gone out of print,” says George.

Alistair met George of Mensa Printers at a Chatsworth Farm Shop summer market, where George sampled some of Alistair’s company’s pates – Alistair’s family created Sutherland Spreads. Five years ago, Alistair launched Granny Mary’s, a new company based in Chesterfield which uses his grandmother’s original recipes as well as new ones the team has developed.

Alistair’s original donation was the largest single one ever made to the Chesterfield branch of Parkinson’s UK and the funds were used to enhance the lives of people with Parkinson’s in the local area through the provision of social meetings and outings, exercise activities and therapies and respite care.

“Alistair’s support for Parkinson’s UK has been fantastic, as was his achievement in becoming British Rally Champion. His story is quite remarkable, and we wish him the best of luck with his new book,” said Gerry Arber, Parkinson’s UK Chesterfield Branch Secretary.

The original book, which was first published in 2014, is the story of the “Clown Prince of Group B” as Alistair was nicknamed. Of a thrown together team of drivers and mechanics who had a dream about winning and what it took for them to achieve the dream. The revised version will look at what lessons in teamwork can be learnt from Alistair’s experience and what individuals and teams need to do in order to overcome all the odds and come out on top

1986 was the last year that Group B Rallying was staged in UK, after the Fédération Internationale de l'Automobile deemed it too dangerous a sport to continue. Although Group B Rallying is no more in the UK, it is still revered by thousands of fans here and right across Europe, with tens of thousands attending the Rally Legend events in San Marino.

“It is this audience who love rallying and people who want an insight into what it takes to become the best in your field that I think will be interested in the new edition of the book. I learnt so much from that year and have used it time and again to bring about success. If I can help others to achieve their dreams and raise funds for Parkinson’s UK, then it will be yet another goal achieved; and of course, George will be printing that one too, says Alistair.