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Racing legends Sir Stirling Moss and John Surtees attend York gala reception
From left John Surtees, playwright Susan Watkins, Sir Stirling Moss, and Guinea Pig Club member Sandy Saunders
MOTOR racing legends Sir Stirling Moss and John Surtees were in York for a gala reception before the performance of a new play on the work of a pioneering surgeon.
The charity event, which took place at the De Grey Rooms on Saturday evening, was held before the showing of the Guinea Pig Club, written by Susan Watkins, widow of former F1 medical chief, Professor Sid Watkins.
It tells the story of pioneering World War II cosmetic surgeon Archibald McIndoe, and the seriously-injured servicemen he worked with - a group which came to be known as the Guinea Pig Club.
Mr Watkins tragically died before the production made it to the stage, however his wife Susan was at the De Grey rooms with the VIP guests before the performance next door at the Theatre Royal.
She said: “It’s very satisfying because I think it continues to provide a very important message. It’s something we need to think about today with young men still coming back injured from conflicts.”
Also at the reception was original Guinea Pig Club member Sandy Saunders, who said he believed he was the inspiration for the writing of the play.
He said: “Archibald was a great inspiration to us. He inspired us to get on with life. He made you realise you shouldn’t worry about things which aren’t worth worrying about.”
Susan said: “Sid had always been interested by The Guinea Pig Club through his friendship with Sandy. It’s an incredible story and just needed to be told. After his crash and operations, Sandy was inspired by Archibald McIndoe to retrain as a doctor.”
The Guinea Pig Club has played to standing ovations on several occasions since opening on October 5, and it runs until Saturday.