The London Taxi Benevolent Association for War Disabled, also known as the Taxi Charity, was presented with the news that they had won a National Lottery Award on Friday 26 August 2016, after the British public voted them UK’s Best Voluntary/ Charity project.
Taxi Charity veterans, committee members and volunteer drivers attended a heart-warming 1940s summer tea dance at the Royal Hospital Chelsea, where broadcaster and Strictly star, Katie Derham appeared to present the award news.
The charity beat off stiff competition from over 600 organisations to reach the public voting stage in the annual awards to find the UK’s favourite lottery-funded projects.
It received a funding boost from the National Lottery for last year’s 'Return of the Liberators' trip to The Netherlands to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Dutch liberation.
Some heart-warming and engaging personal stories emerged from the event.
In particular, that of George and Sylvia Parsons, both in their nineties – (George is also a Reverend) - who will be celebrating 75 years of marriage this October.
Listen to George and Sylvia being interviewed on BBC Radio London.
(Fast forward to 02:48:40)
They are both war veterans – George took part in the D-Day Normandy Landings and Sylvie was a Land Girl. George and Sylvia met on a blind date just over 75 years ago and their love still remains strong.
Theirs is a love that has lasted through time. The Parsons, who live in sheltered accommodation in Croydon, first met on a double date just after the war broke out in 1939 and got engaged within 6 months and had to wait due to George being deployed for a suitable time to get married. It was a very worrying time for both.
While the other couple never met again, George and Sylvia are still going strong more than seven decades later.
The pair finally wed in Streatham on October 2, 1941, and Sylvia became a full-time mum to their five children during the marriage and will be celebrating their 75th anniversary with a big party this October.
Looked after by the London Taxi Benevolent Association for War Disabled, they now live within sheltered housing at a school in Croydon and have many children and grandchildren.
George is thrilled to be living within a school’s grounds as he says it keeps him and Sylvia connected with young people. George, still sprightly at 97, was delighted to mention that he has a Facebook page.
The London Taxi Benevolent Association for War Disabled celebrated their recognition as the nation’s Best Voluntary/Charity project by picking up their coveted National Lottery Award on BBC 1, Monday 12 September 2016, in front of a star-studded audience on the Awards show.
Watch George and Sylvia being interviewed on BBC Radio London's Facebook page.