Taxi Charity Takes to the Skies

 WWII veterans enjoyed an event hosted by the Taxi Charity at Biggin Hill with two Spitfire flights and entertainment from the D Day Darlings.

On 12 September a group of nineteen WWII Veterans were joined by veterans from other conflicts for a Taxi Chairty event in the Heritage Hangar at Biggin Hill, a working hangar for Spitfire restoration projects.


During the event which celebrated the Taxi Charity’s 75th anniversary, veterans enjoyed catching up with each other a light lunch and entertainment from the D Day Darlings. At 12pm Chelsea  Pensioneer Mike Smith, who served with the Royal Army Service Corps as an Air Despatcher, was surprised with the news he would be taking to the skies in a Spitfire, along with a second Spitfire carrying ambassador and vitamin entrepreneur Johnny Gallagher who had generously paid for the event.

Hearing and seeing the Spitfires take off and land, and listening to war time songs, many  synonymous with the charity’s greatly missed Patron Dame Vera Lynn, certainly brought memories from 80 years ago flooding back. Veterans also participated in an art piece being created by military artist Kirsty Chapman.

Brian Heffernan, London cab driver and Chairman of the Taxi Charity for Military Veterans said, “For seventy five years London cab drivers have volunteered their time to support veterans. Events like this are a wonderful way for veterans to get together to talk with those who have similar life experiences. The pandemic coupled with the cost of living crisis has left thousands of charities including ours with many fundraising challenges and we are so grateful that our young Ambassador Johnny Gallagher offered to cover all the costs for this event.”

Dick Goodwin, Honorary Secretary Taxi Charity for Military Veterans said, “When we surprised Mike Smith with the chance to fly in a Spitfire, we had no idea what his reaction would be. Imagine our delight when he told us that we would be ticking something off his bucket list which he never thought he would be able to achieve.”

Johnny Gallagher, Taxi Charity Ambassador and Vitamin Entrepreneur said, “It’s an absolute disgrace that this charity has to struggle for funds when we are helping people that saved our lives, our family’s lives, the country and the rest of Europe from a very sinister future.  As long as I earn money I will continue to help and give these veterans a great day and something to look forward to.”

To find out more about the support the Taxi Charity offers to veterans or to donate  visit

About Military Artist Kirsty Chapman

To create her artwork Kirsty Chapman asks veterans to dip a finger into some red paint and place it onto the canvas. Each ‘print’ represents a poppy and each poppy is given a number, and that number is added to a book which the contributor then signs and has the opportunity to write a message or dedication. The fingerprint represents the individual mark each serviceman woman and veteran makes on history.

 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.