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War Veterans visit Worthing by Derek Leone

The London Taxi Benevolent Association for War Disabled made their 56th annual outing to Worthing on 15th June 2004. This was also the 60th anniversary of the D-Day Landings at Normandy.

Taxis arrived in the quiet village of South Holmwood where the villagers welcomed the veterans and the taxi drivers, supplying tea and coffee.

The convoy left for Worthing around 11am and with the assistance of the local police who used a rolling road block headed off to Worthing.

Lunch was held in The Civic Centre Assembley Rooms, where the Mayor of Worthing Councillor Mr Doyle welcomed the charity’s patron Dame Vera Lynn, all the veterans and the drivers.

A minute’s silence was held in memory of Canon Frank Hegarty who sadly passed away recently, then grace was said by Paul Davis, Secretary of The London Taxi Benevolent Association for War Disabled. Speeches followed the lunch and a telegram from Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II was read out, expressing her good wishes to the veterans.

The guest of honour was Mr Peter Cleminson, Vice Chairman of The Royal British Legion. He praised the drivers for their generosity in giving up their time in helping to bring the veterans to Worthing. He also expressed that he hopes the Royal British Legion and The London Taxi Benevolent Association for War Disabled can work together to do more for the veterans. He also explained that the Legion is involved in various projects, including the training of ex-service men and women to be taxi drivers.

Mr Cyrol Paskin, Chairman of The Phillip Green Memorial Trust, who was accompanied by Corwn Prince Shobowin of Burma, was introduced by the Master of Ceremonies, Melvin Zeff. Mr Paskin explained that the Trust he is involved with is mainly involved with helping children, but on hearing about The London Taxi Benevolent Association for War Disabled they decided to make a donation. A cheque for £5000 was handed to Chairman Steve Sanders, followed by a cheque presented to the Mayor of Worthing for a local children’s home. Doug Sherry MBE generously donated £25 to each driver to cover the cost of the fuel, which was gratefully received.

Lunch was followed by a walk along the seafront, or a taxi shuttle service for those who could not manage the walk. Then it was back to the Assembley Rooms for tea and entertainment before heading back to South Holmwood and home.

The Committee would like to thank the villagers of South Holmwood and the local police, the St John’s Ambulance Service and the drivers, without whom the outing could not go ahead.

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