Model car a triumph for human spirit

September 29 2021
Model car a triumph for human spirit

WHEN his friend Peter Butler was diagnosed with cancer, Brian Evans decided to make a replica model of Peter’s beloved 1952 MGTD car as a surprise gift to lift his spirits.

Despite having Parkinson’s himself that causes his hands to shake, he spent four years painstakingly recreating the car in miniature in his workshop, using scrap pieces of wood.

He finally handed it over hidden inside a shoebox – and when Peter saw it he burst into tears.

“I said to Peter ‘I bought you a pair of shoes, I hope you can wear them’,” said Brian.

“He didn’t open the box at first, but he opened it eventually – that’s when he fell apart.”

Peter said: “I couldn’t believe it, I didn’t know what to say. I was overwhelmed. I recognised not only how long it took but what it took.”

The two neighbours in Kings Castle Road, Wells, first met many years ago when Brian was a lorry driver with Sheldon’s and Peter’s father was a director of the company.

Brian was diagnosed with Parkinson’s eight years ago, shortly before Peter acquired the MG that he has lovingly restored.

When Brian decided to build the model of the car, he would take photographs of the vehicle that he then went back and recreated in wood.

“Sometimes I had to get a cushion to steady my hand. Sometimes I couldn’t do anything,” said Brian.

“I nearly threw it all on the floor and jumped on it at one time. It was getting so frustrating and I’m a perfectionist.”

The intricately detailed model car

The intricately detailed model car

The intricately detailed model car

He spent 15 hours or more a week making the model, having only made bird tables previously, and larger-sized model lorries. He recently took the model car to show members of the local Parkinson’s group whose meetings he attends, and they immediately thought it was made from a kit.

Peter – who has had to undergo major bowel surgery – is having a glass case made for the precious model, complete with brass plaque.

He is planning a big fundraising drive for cancer charities with the help of Milly and Tilly, the Hillman Minx and Constructham caravan he has also restored, which will be launched next spring.

Both he and Brian are determined to show that however ill or infirm people are, they can still take on challenges if they remain positive and determined.

“I want to show people it doesn’t matter how bad you are, you can still do things,” said Brian.

“If you think you can’t do anything you’re just going to deteriorate.”

• The local Parkinson’s support group meets on the third Thursday of each month at The George Inn at Gurney Slade, from 10am-noon. For more information contact John Saunders, 01761 432452 or