At the time of the Easter Sunday bombings in Sri Lanka, Toby Trotter was working on a new book at home in Singapore. When reading the papers and seeing the Nicholsons’ faces on the front, it was a jolt to the system, he was shocked. His son Max played rugby with Alex at Dulwich School and his daughter Amelia was friends with Annabel.


“It was tough for the whole school,” Toby told us, “but there’s a big rugby community in Singapore, and anytime something happens the whole rugby community seems to come together”. A largely voluntary group of people at various clubs across the city-state, united by the love of the game, there’s a wonderful camaraderie and a desire to look after each other.


At the heart of the rugby family is the ex-pat community, “it’s like a mini-United Nations, we’ve got people from Singapore, England, Scotland, Australia, Kiwis, Nigeria…” Toby, a Harlequins man himself, spoke to us about how that rugby drive, particularly among the ex-pats, was so important in helping support Ben, “he wanted to find some light, and we thought what a great opportunity to do the same thing.”


“So many people do much bigger things but even if I can just be a small part of that hopefully makes a difference,” he said, speaking about his new book The Expats. Managing to raise £1,000 for the Nicholson Memorial Fund so far, all the profits from the illustrated snapshot into expat life in Singapore will go to the Memorial Fund. Drawing inspiration from the Alex series in a well-known British broadsheet, Toby wrote, illustrated and produced the book pretty much all himself, “It’s just a nice bit of gentle humour really, each page is a little story about expat life.”


“The hardest bit is marketing. I’ve created this book and then I realise ‘crikey, I’ve got to sell it”. Despite this apparent challenge, it has done brilliantly, with an ever-important contribution to the Nicholson Memorial Fund. He says it comes down to the lovely positive attitude of the Atlas Foundation, “I just love the ‘if you’ve got an idea, we’ll help you’ drive behind the people at Atlas”.


There are still some copies available and you can get your hands on one by contacting us at [email protected] or by signing up to Front Row Club, where we’ll be giving away a signed copy in the coming weeks! Or if you would like to donate to the Nicholson Memorial Fund, click HERE.