Tom Sutherland – In the Shade of the Banyan Tree

This is the title of Iain Park’s latest book, a biography of Tom Sutherland, following up his earlier books ‘The Centenary History of the Strathaven Scouts’ and his climbing book ‘Eye to the Hills’

Tom, the son of a Presbyterian Minister, was born and spent his early years in the state of Victoria, Australia. After graduating with an Arts degree from Melbourne University he was a lecturer in Humanities at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology.

Even as a schoolboy Tom committed himself to helping others and as student and lecturer in Melbourne he devoted all of his spare time and energies to many good causes and particularly to helping the young and disadvantaged people of all ages. 

In 1975, aged 38, he travelled to India at the invitation of Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charities Brothers in Calcutta intending to spend a few months working with them. He has stayed in India ever since. Inspired by the work of the Brothers and Mother Teresa herself he has spent the last 40 years working tirelessly to improve the lives of the poor, the sick and the destitute people in the southern state of Kerala. Having giving up all his own possessions he has lived the life of those he has been serving and denied himself any of the conveniences of modern life, supported in what he has done by family and friends in Australia and by others whom he has inspired in other parts of the world.

One of these was Ron Prosser, the founder of Health Help International.  Ron and HHI have been supporting Tom for the past twenty years, and providing him with regular funds to enable him to carry out his humanitarian work in Kerala.

Iain’s account of Tom’s life of service has been published in the form of a high quality paper-back book of about 165 pages including over 100 colour photographs.

The book costs £15 all of which will go to HHI to provide continuing support for Tom’s work in India through the activities of his Charity the Banyan Tree.