WWII Veteran Bill Gladden, 98, heard about Dave the Edensor Care Home Cat on a recent trip with the Taxi Charity and offered to paint his portrait.
WWII Veteran Bill Gladden, 98, from Suffolk, has been painting all his life and particularly loves painting dogs and horses to raise funds for his beloved Taxi Charity.
On a recent trip to The Netherlands with the Taxi Charity for Military Veterans, Bill heard about a very special cat who was enriching the lives of staff and residents at the Diagrama Foundation, Edensor Care Home in Clacton on Sea. Dave the cat had arrived at the home as a kitten in 2021 when the Care Home asked residents to share something they would like for a ‘Wish Tree’. Diane, one of the residents asked for ‘a cat to love and care for’ and a little tabby kitten, who they named Dave, arrived.
From the moment Dave came to the Care Home, he really caught everyone’s attention including the BBC who made a video of him which became one of their most watched videos of 2021. When Bill heard that the Care Home was preparing a 1st birthday party for Dave, he offered to paint a portrait of him.
WWII Veteran, Bill Gladden, said, “We were talking about Dave over dinner one evening and when I heard about what a difference he has made to the lives of the residents and the staff I asked if they might like a portrait of him. I am often asked to paint people’s pets and if they like what I have done all I ask is that they donate to the Taxi Charity.”
Lindsey Milliken, Deputy Manager, Edensor Care Centre, said: “We were over the moon when we received a phone call to say a WWII Veteran wanted to paint Dave’s portrait. We sent a photograph of Dave to Bill, and we were delighted when the gorgeous portrait arrived in time for Dave’s first birthday. Bill has been incredibly generous, and we cannot thank him enough. Many of our residents live with dementia or complex medical needs and Dave has made such a difference to life here. The residents and staff love Dave’s portrait which we will be framing and hanging in pride of place in our lounge.”
Bill will be travelling with the Taxi Charity to commemorate Dutch Liberation in The Netherlands in May, and D Day in Normandy in June and will no doubt be asked to paint more animals by those he travels with.
To find out more about the support the Taxi Charity offers veterans visit www.taxicharity.org
About the Taxi Charity
The Taxi Charity is run by volunteer London black taxi drivers and has been supporting thousands of veterans of all ages since 1948. The charity arranges free trips to the Netherlands, Belgium, and France, for acts of commemoration and days out to museums, concerts, or fundraising events in the UK, to catch up with friends and comrades.
The Charity worked tirelessly during the pandemic to ensure veterans received regular contact by sending out a greeting card each month, gifts to mark the 75th anniversaries of VE and VJ day, stockings at Christmas and arranging Guards of Honour at veterans’ funerals. Volunteers have also helped with regular phone calls, food shopping, transport to hospital appointments, and more recently taking veterans for their Coronavirus injections.
The charity was awarded the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service in June 2021.
To fund and facilitate their work, the charity is reliant on generous donations from members of the public, businesses, and trusts.
About The Diagrama Foundation
The Diagrama Foundation is a Kent based charity that supports vulnerable children, young people, and adults to live their best life.
Diagrama has a Supported Living Service across Bromley, three homes for adults with learning disabilities in Orpington, a 50-bed care home for the elderly with nursing and dementia needs in Essex, and a fostering and adoption service covering the southeast.
The team at their nursing and dementia care home Edensor in Clacton on Sea, support their vulnerable residents to live life to the full.