When Padstow, Cornwall-based book printer TJ International was approached by the Port Isaac Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI) to produce The Illustrated History of Port Isaac Lifeboat Station, staff at TJ could not have imagined that a few weeks later HRH Prince Charles would be holding a special copy.
So how did TJ get the book first to locals and then to royalty?
What was the project?
Initially, the firm, which lays claim to being the third-largest book printer in the UK was tasked with producing a paperback book in a run of approximately 2,000, but TJ business leader Peter Leach felt the RNLI would be better served by a premium-quality colour product in a run of 250. Once those books had all been sold more copies would automatically be produced on a continuous basis.
When Port Isaac RNLI chair Bob Bulgin then decided he wanted to give the 50 members of the organisation a limited-edition copy, Leach was very pleased to take on the work. And when it was announced that Prince Charles would be visiting to honour the RNLI on 19 July, it seemed absurd not to produce a personalised copy.
What did it entail?
The regular books were 120pp long and printed on TJ’s Xerox Versant 2100 on Vision Paper’s 130gm Maiden Silk.
For the special editions, Leach came up with a plan that required plenty of his own dedication and plenty of TLC. He bound the books with material taken from the RNLI member’s polo shirts, work that was all done by hand.
The cover of Prince Charles’ copy was also embroidered with the RNLI logo and the date of his visit.
What challenges were overcome?
Leach said: “Stabilising the binding material effectively was hard. Because it’s a polo shirt you had to get the consistency of the glue just right. If it was too thin, it just came through and ruined the embroidery. There were quite a few lifeguard shirts ruined in the process.”
What was the feedback
Bulgin said: “I’m very happy to confirm that we had 100% support from TJ at a very high professional level in every way. I couldn’t fault it. We’ve had a very nice reply from Prince Charles as to being presented with it when he was here.”
Sales of the book have so far raised £3,000 for the RNLI.