The London Taxi Benevolent Association For War Disabled (LTBAFWD), also known as the Taxi Charity, was formed at the Bedford Arms in Fulham on 27 February 1948.
Later that same year, the first two outings took place, one to Brighton and one to Worthing. In total, 25 taxis were used to convey 50 disabled veterans.
1951 - 1962
Between 1951 and 1962, the number of volunteer taxi drivers increased to 60, which meant we were able to take 120 disabled veterans to Worthing each year.
In the 1980s, there were annual visits to Maidstone and Leeds Castle. The most notable of these took place in 1982 when, among the guests, were the wounded from the Falklands Campaign.
On the 9 and 10 September 1987, a return to Dunkirk was made by 200 disabled ex-servicemen. This journey of remembrance, involving 55 London taxis, conveyed war disabled from The Royal Star & Garter Home in Richmond, the Royal Hospital Chelsea, The British Limbless Ex-Service Men's Association and war disabled persons from their own homes.
1990 saw the Battle of Britain Anniversary, which was held in honour of the Few. The guests at some of these outings included Lady Mountbatten, Charlie Chester and Harry Secombe.
In 1994, we organised a 4 day commemorative trip to the Normandy beaches for the 50th anniversary of D-Day.
On 9 June 1994 at 9:30 am, 75 London taxi drivers were given the honour of assembling on Horse Guards Parade, with 150 Normandy veterans, to await the arrival of HM Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother.
This must be one of the proudest moments, in the history of the London Taxi trade. The Queen Mother arrived at 10:30 am, accompanied by Dame Vera Lynn DBE LLD (in her capacity as Patron of the LTBAFWD), and Field Marshall Lord Bramall, the Lord Lieutenant of London.
Veterans and volunteers from the Taxi Charity were invited to Clarence House by HRH Prince Charles.
In May 2008, we returned to Normandy for a 4 day visit with 160 Normandy veterans in 95 London taxis.
In May 2012, we went to the Netherlands to celebrate the anniversary of VE Day with the Dutch people. We took 160 World War II veterans in 86 taxis. The British veterans were made guest of honour on three open-top double decker buses, which toured the town of Wageningen, watched by a crowd of 150,000.
The charity changed its name from the London Taxi Benevolent Association For War Disabled to Taxi Charity For Military Veterans. Also receives National Lottery Award.
In addition to the annual Worthing outing and Christmas lunch, in 2017 the charity took 250 veterans back to the Normandy beaches in 90 taxis (#backtothebeaches). Other outings included a lunch at the RAF Club, a trip to Inkpen, a fundraising event with the Red Devils, a boxing night and a trip to the Netherlands for Wandeltocht.
In February, the Taxi Charity celebrated its 70th anniversary with a party at The Bedford Arms, the pub where the charity was formed on 27 February 1948. In June, the charity escorted 25 WWII veterans on a trip to Normandy; and in July, 100 cabs took veterans on the charity's annual trip to Worthing. In December, Major General Alastair Bruce attended the Taxi Charity Christmas lunch and confirmed he would be taking on the role of ambassador for the charity.
This year was by far the busiest and most varied in our history. A year punctuated by historic and landmark anniversaries, some of which brought widespread media attention. Plus we announced a new chairman: Ian Parsons. During April, the RNRMC invited 18 Royal Navy veterans to Portsmouth for a three-day visit of the city and surrounding area; in May, we escorted 35 veterans to the Netherlands for the Dutch Liberation celebrations, and six RAF veterans to Berlin to attend an anniversary service at Tempelhof Memorial Park to mark 70 years since the end of the Berlin Airlift. The 6 June 2019 marked the 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings, and our week-long trip to Normandy (3 - 8 June) was the culmination of over a year’s planning and preparation. For this historic visit, our 32-taxi convoy transported thirty-five World War II veterans - most of whom fought in Normandy - plus carers, medics, mechanics, special guests and drivers; on 18 June, over 100 taxis took veterans to Worthing. and on 22 June, we took over 30 veterans to Hever Castle as part of the Home Front event. July saw a fundraising skydive; and a trip to Belgium for Waterloo Uncovered. This year marked the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Arnhem and in September, the Taxi Charity made a special effort to ensure we escorted as many veterans who participated in Operation Market Garden as possible. And in December, we held our annual Christmas lunch at Milwall FC.
The Taxi Charity was with a group of veterans in Oosterbeek in the Netherlands in March 2020 for the re-opening of the Airborne Museum when the lockdown was announced. The visit was immediately curtailed, and we headed home. The charity had to put all its events and fundraising activities on hold due to the Coronavirus restrictions but we worked tirelessly to ensure that our veterans received regular contact by sending 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.
In June, the Taxi Charity received the Queen's Award for Voluntary Service, an annual award given to groups in the UK voluntary sector; the charity also took a large group of WWII veterans to the National Memorial Arboretum to participate in the official opening of the British Normandy Memorial in Ver-sur-Mer via a live link. The charity held its annual Christmas lunch for veterans and volunteers at Milwall FC.
The Taxi Charity returned to the Netherlands (for the Dutch Liberation Day celebrations in May and the Wandeltocht commemorative march in September) and Normandy (for the D-Day commemorations in June) for the first time after the restrictions of the Covid-19 pandemic halted our travel abroad. Sixty black cabs made the trip to Worthing in July, after a break of two years. Brian Heffernan became the charity's new chairman in September.