On the evening of Tuesday 17 October, Carney’s Community in Battersea was packed out with cab drivers, their friends and families, all joining the crush to watch 11 stalwart drivers from north of the river battle it out against the opposition representing the south of the river.
Some of the fighters had been training in Wapping with their coach Michael Herring for a number of years, while others, spurred on by the desire to do something for the Taxi Charity, had only trained for a matter of a few months. Their enthusiasm was tangible – this was sport in the truest sense of the word.
Every driver gave his all, amidst shouts and cheers from the audience and egged on by their cornermen. Yet the atmosphere remained friendly throughout, and whilst retaining the competitive spirit, never became aggressive.
Seated behind the ring and cheering along with the rest were four Chelsea Pensioners and one Normandy Veteran, most of whom are collectors for the Taxi Charity.
Almost every single person involved was a cab driver who had volunteered, from the boxers, their coach, all the support teams, the stewards, the ladies selling refreshments and the chaps on the door. The music was supplied by a driver, and Grant Davis did an outstanding job as MC and auctioneer.
The auction itself raised just over £1,000 and all bar one of the lots were donated by drivers. The generosity of the trade sometimes seems overwhelming.
The evening was also backed by a number of businesses:
TaxiApp provided the vests, shorts and socks, and the boxers really did look smartly turned out.
The posters, tickets and auction lists were donated by Ubiquitous
cab:app provided the programmes and paid for the insurance.
Tony at the Astral café kindly helped us with the food and we would like to thank him and Sapori for their assistance in selling tickets.
MyTaxi paid for the ambulance and paramedics (thankfully not needed on the night!)
CabVision and Cabbies Accountants both made generous donations.
The LCDC also gave invaluable support as well as donating the trophy for the best boxer, won by Terry Buffin, a popular result.
When Taxi Charity committee vice president, Frances Wyhowska, had the original idea of arranging a boxing match, she hoped that it would be a way not only of raising money for the charity but of providing some much deserved fun for drivers themselves.
Given that five drivers have already put their names forward for next year, we like to think that this goal was achieved.
Thank you to everyone involved.
NORTH (RED CORNER)
SOUTH (BLUE CORNER)
Coach: Michael Herring Referee: Mark Reigate (FitzRoy Lodge)