On 4 July over fifty volunteer black cab drivers took veterans to Worthing for the Taxi Charity’s 75th Anniversary Visit.
In a tradition stretching back to 1948, veterans who are supported by the Taxi Charity for Military Veterans, have been treated to a day at the coast for a fish and chip lunch.
Now in its 75th year, the Taxi Charity’s annual day trip to the coast has always begun with the volunteer London cab drivers rendezvousing in the small village of South Holmwood for a refreshment stop and a wonderful buffet prepared by the residents.
The London black cabs then drove in convoy to the esplanade in Worthing where the veterans were met by the Worthing and Adur Town Crier Bob Smytherman and escorted into the Pavilion Theatre.
Veterans, cab drivers and invited guests were welcomed by the Mayor of Worthing Cllr. Jon Roser and then enjoyed fish and chips followed by ice cream.
After lunch, 102 year old Flt Lt (Retd) Colin Bell DFC who served in WWII as a Mosquito Bomber Pilot and completed over 50 missions shared stories from his life.
After speeches from the Taxi Charity Chairman, Brian Heffernan and the Taxi Charity Patron, Vice-Admiral Sir Adrian Johns, KCB, CBE, KStJ, DL, guests were entertained by rock band The Accents, who much to the delight of the older veterans, had learnt some popular songs from WWII.
London Cab Driver and Chairman of the Taxi Charity Brian Heffernan, said, “Every year we receive the most wonderful welcome from the residents of South Holmwood and Worthing. As well as veterans from WWII, we were joined by younger veterans who served in Iraq, Afghanistan and the Falklands who are also eligible for our support. This day is a very popular event and it couldn’t happen without the generosity of the London cab drivers who give up a day’s pay to volunteer their time to pick up veterans from London and the Home Counties.
“This is a very important year for the charity as we celebrate our 75th anniversary, but we do have concerns that with the country still feeling the effects of Covid and the cost of living crisis, donations and grants are at significantly lower levels and we are devastated that there is a real chance that we may have to cancel some of our future trips.”
To donate to the Taxi Charity or to find out more about how they support for veterans, visit, www.taxicharity.org
About the Taxi Charity for Military Veterans
The Taxi Charity is run by volunteer London black taxi drivers and has been supporting thousands of veterans since 1948. It is the only Forces charity that focuses on providing fun and entertainment and arranges free trips (for veterans from all conflicts) to the Netherlands and France, for acts of commemoration and days out to museums, concerts, or social events across the UK.
2023 is the charity’s 75th anniversary, a remarkable milestone for a small, niche charity peopled by enthusiastic volunteers.
The charity received the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service in 2021, an award approved by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II and the equivalent of the MBE for charities.
To fund and facilitate their work, the charity is reliant on donations, grants and sponsorship and launched a ‘75 for 75’ fundraising campaign to raise £75,000 in its anniversary year.