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Press Release: London cabbies transport war heroes to WWI battlefields

Taxi Charity trip to Ypres

Scores of cabbies are offering their services to the Taxi Charity - also known as the London Taxi Benevolent Association For War Disabled - to transport war heroes to the battle fields of Belgium (on Tues 10 May).

The 64 London taxis will transport 98 veterans plus volunteers and paramedics to the town of Ypres - now known by its Flemish name of Ieper, and formerly known by the hundreds of thousands of British troops who were stationed in the region between 1914 - 18 as ‘Wipers'.

The highlight of the trip will be a service at the Menin Gate memorial where the last post is played every evening at 8pm. The names of the 54,332 British, Irish and Commonwealth men who fell in the region and have no known resting place are engraved on the monument.

The WWII war heroes, who hail from across the capital will also visit the Passchendaele Museum, commemorating the bloody Battle of Passchendaele (31 July - 6 November, 1917) and the In Flanders Fields Museum situated in the historic Cloth Hall.

Taxi Charity Committee member, Paul Davis said: "All of our drivers are working cabbies who are giving up their time freely to pick up the vets from their homes across London and give them a memorable experience and the opportunity to pay their respects to those who tragically lost their lives on the WWI battlefields. The charity, along with licenced London cabbies, is proud to support ex-service veterans as we have done since 1948."

Honorary Chairman Gary Belsey added: "This is a pilgrimage to honour those who paid the ultimate sacrifice in WWI; many of our forefathers and family ancestors have marked their place in history. Thousands upon thousands have marched through the Menin Gate on their way to the front lines during WWI and the Menin Gate is where we will have a service to remember a generation who paid the ultimate price."

Last year, the Taxi Charity organised a trip to Arnhem to commemorate the 70th Anniversary of the Liberation of The Netherlands and took an active role supporting and transporting veterans to the VE and VJ ceremonies.

Only licenced London taxi drivers can drive for the Taxi Charity and veterans take an active part throughout the year by collecting donations across the capital.

The charity counts Dame Vera Lynn and Joanna Lumley among its patrons.

Trip Itinerary

Tues 10 May

  • 7am - Pick ups from across London

  • 11.10am Ferry from Dover

  • Mid-pm Arrival at hotel

  • Evening meal in the Cloth Hall in centre of Ypres.

Weds 11 May

  • Late breakfast and drive to Passchendaele Museum.

  • Return to Hotel for tea

  • 8pm Menin Gate service

  • Return to hotel for supper with guests.

Thurs 12 May

  • Travel to Belgium Military Barracks for a parade and demonstration followed by lunch

  • Return ferry home from Calais

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