On Thursday 5 March 2015, we held a lunch for 100 veterans and 20 or so guests, sponsors and friends at the North Cheam Sports and Social Club (NCSSC), courtesy of the Taxi Charity's good friend and sponsor, Tony Mallard.
Veterans made their way to Morden underground station for about midday and from there they were picked by our London taxi drivers and ferried to the club at Cheam.
They all had a couple of drinks and spent a very social hour or so meeting and greeting Taxi Charity's patrons Vice Admiral Sir Adrian Johns & his wife Lady Suzie Johns, along with various sponsors and our group of Chelsea Pensioners, resplendent in their scarlet uniforms, who incidentally fetched their own piper with them.
We all enjoyed a traditional lunch of pie and mash, washed down with a pint.
Entertainment was laid on.
We had classically-trained Shaun Hughes, who studied at the Academy for Theatre Arts, who gave lovely renditions of Danny Boy and You’ll Never Walk Alone.
We then had a cabaret of our 'homegrown talent' in the shape of four veterans from our wonderful team of collectors singing various popular songs of the wartime period, namely Harry Bailey, Alan Reid, Peter Kent together with Danny McCrudden, ex-professional backing singer for Vera Lynn, the original forces sweetheart who just happens to be a Taxi Charity patron.
Finally semi-professional singer Matt, a friend and guest of Tony Mallard, who accompanied us to Holland in 2014, sang all our favourite Frank Sinatra songs.
A great afternoon was had by all our veterans.
I cannot bid you adieu without informing you that our great team of collectors/veterans (all in their late 80s/early 90s) have been out there in all weathers throughout the winter, collecting for the Taxi Charity.
Between December 2014 and March 2015, they have collected £32,960 towards our trip to Holland in May this year! WELL DONE, LADS!
Why not come along and say hello to them at our next collection on Friday 20 March at Kings Cross underground station - they will be there all day. Better still, come along and make a donation! You might even catch our little trio giving the public a song or two.
Thank you to all those involved and thanks again to Tony Mallard and all the staff at NCSSC.
To view all the photos from our veterans lunch, please visit the Taxi Charity Flickr page.
Catch up with you soon,
Eddie Hillery, Vice President