Oakham author and retired policeman who patrolled Wembley Stadium and Houses of Parliament wins publishing deal for book
A retired policeman who spent 14 years protecting MPs at the Houses of Parliament has won a publishing deal for his debut novel.
Ian Allan, from Oakham, wrote Danube Delivery around 10 years ago, set around the adventures and mishaps of a couple defecting from the Soviet Union in 1991 as the Iron Curtain was crumbling.
After several years of scrupulous editing, Ian secured a publisher, Conrad Press, after winning a writing competition in the London Police Pensioner magazine.
It came out on Amazon via Kindle around six weeks ago and is now available in paperback, with Walkers Bookshops planning to stock the novel.
"I have an active mind," Ian said.
"This idea came to me about a possible story and as I started writing, it was almost as though it was all real.
"I was so lucky that this competition came along. To get it published was a huge boost for me."
To meet competition rules, the book needed a police element so Ian wove in a sub-plot surrounding a group of London bobbies on a charity cycle ride from Big Ben to Budapest .
It relates to a real life episode when Ian organised a charity cycle ride from the famous London landmark to the Hungarian capital.
Ian helped co-ordinate three charity rides to Europe, the final one of which ended in Rome and a meeting with Pope John Paul II at the Vatican.
His 35-year career in the force is no less colourful.
It began in Edinburgh before swapping the Scottish capital for the English capital, pounding a tough beat on the streets of Wembley.
A good chunk of time was also spent policing sporting events at the borough's famous stadium, particularly cup finals, at a time in the 1970s and 1980s when football hooliganism was commonplace.
"When I started there was no such thing as personal radios ," Ian explained.
"You had to talk people out of wanting to give you a punch!"
It was then that a colleague recommended him for a gentler, but no less high-stakes role as sergeant at the Houses of Parliament.
"Parliament was a whole new ball game," he said.
"We met all sorts of interesting people such as the Dalai Lama and I was on duty for events such as the State Opening of Parliament.
"We were responsible for security and were very much aware of the dangers, particularly from terrorism. It was a primary target.
"But the main problem was the members. They were so full of their own importance they thought they were fireproof!"
He was also secretary for the rifle club there and as a history buff conducted guided tours of the Palace of Westminster in his spare time, occasionally for high profile visitors such as American senators.
Ian moved to Oakham from Somerset with his wife four-and-a-half years ago, and has picked up the pen once again.
"I'm trying to do a follow-up linked to the original characters, but not directly about them," he added.