Janet Hodgson has been working with the Taxi Charity - as a sort of artist-in-residence - since 2012.
Her first encounter with the charity was in 2011 when she bumped into two WWII veterans in Canary Wharf station fund-raising for the charity’s first trip to The Netherlands. She became captivated about the charity and working with them and the veterans. Several months later, she joined the veterans and a convoy of 80 black cabs on the trip.
"I am in awe of the charity’s commitment towards our veterans. Quietly getting along with its work for more than half a century, it rarely gets a mention. I’ve been motivated to consider what I can do to help ensure that the charity – and the Black Cab drivers whom they rely on – is recognised. This charity does an awful lot more than just take veterans on trips. It plays a central role in making veterans lives more enjoyable, recognising them as valuable and relevant, and most importantly, in bringing them together regularly – with each other and also the public - when they otherwise might be home alone."
THE VETERANS ROADTRIP BLOG
Janet established www.veteransroadtrip.com as a place to document various events and activities, short films and photographs. It has followers far and wide, including veterans, their children and grand-children, taxi drivers and their families. Nowadays Janet concentrates on documentary and music events.
Janet has been filming the charity's activities on and off, formally and informally, for the last few years. In 2014, working with Hogarth and Ogilvy, and Creation Company Pictures, she began making a documentary about the charity. The first ‘outing’ for this footage has been a commemorative film for the veterans and drivers who took part in the charity’s Return of the Liberators trip to the Netherlands in 2015.
"I am so pleased that the film ‘Return of the Liberators’ seems to have meant so much to the charity, the drivers, the veterans and their families. I am currently organising screenings of the film so as many people can see it as possible, and also applying for more funding and partners in developing a more rounded documentary for a wider audience."
During her first encounters with the charity, Janet noticed how music and singing played a significant role in the camaraderie of the veterans and the charity. So, together with the Taxi Charity, she organised a number of pop-up singing events in pubs, a ‘talent night’ for veterans in The Netherlands, an Armistice Day event at Chelsea College of Art, an appearance on-stage for veteran Danny McCrudden at Chalke Valley History Festival and a Vintage Tea Party at Ogilvy HQ in London.
"Over the last few years, I’ve been gently persuading the charity to give music a central role in its interactions with the public. It has been great to see how the introduction of an amplifier at the charity’s collections has caused quite a stir!"
If you would like further information about Janet's work with the Taxi Charity, you can email her at: firstname.lastname@example.org. You can also visit her website at www.strongcombination.com and follow her on Twitter.