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Taxi Charity in the press: Evening Standard - 6 May 2015

The Evening Standard ran a story about our veterans' trip to Arnhem (2-6 May 2015).

London taxi drivers honour WW2 heroes with trip to Arnhem

Taxi Charity organises emotional trip for WW2 war heroes


Published: 06 May 2015

Eighty London taxi drivers were today due back in the capital after giving up their Bank Holiday weekend to take a group of war heroes on an "emotional" trip to Holland.

The £120,000 pilgrimage, organised by the Taxi Charity to remember the Liberation of Arnhem in 1945, was funded by veterans' own fundraising at Tube stations over the year.

Sizeable donations from the National Lottery and the Royal British Legion also helped them reach their target - but the cabbies' time, as well as most of the fuel and the use of their vehicles, has been donated by the big-hearted drivers themselves.

In all, about 120 veterans were taken to the Netherlands to mark the 70th anniversary of the battle. The Liberation of Arnhem finally brought the city back into Allied control, just weeks before Germany's surrender.

Last September saw the 70th anniversary of the first Battle of Arnhem, which saw heavy Allied losses, including many British troops.

Vice-president Dick Goodwin told the Standard the trip had been "very, very emotional".

"Everyone knows someone in one of the cemeteries," he said. "To me they're names, but to them they're mates."

Unfortunately the trip's centrepiece - yesterday's National Liberation Parade at Wageningen - was beset by bad weather.

Nonetheless, during their time in Holland, the veterans - more than 80 of whom took part in the liberation and the remainder of whom fought against Hitler elsewhere - have laid wreaths, visited veterans' homes, met Dutch officials and seen the graves of their fallen friends.

They were brought together from as far afield as Scotland and Wales through the charity's network.

"Some of the guys have never been back before," said Mr Goodwin, "so that's very emotional.

"The Dutch love our veterans - there's a great sense of comradeship. They're back with their mates."

The charity - full name London Taxi Benevolent Association for War Disabled - has also organised a day out in Worthing for war heroes every year since 1948.

Mr Goodwin said many of the veterans on their books had become firm friends with the cab drivers who ferry them around.

"It's amazing to watch the friendships that build up," he said. "We go to a lot of funerals because these people become your friends.

"You just care for them. The cab drivers go and see them when they go home."

As well as the drivers, he also thanked ferry company Stena Line for its generosity with discounted fares.

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