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Support lonely veterans this Christmas, The Taxi Newspaper

The wonderful people at the Russell Square cab shelter are laying on a free Christmas lunch for homeless and lonely war veterans and are appealing for donations and support from the cab trade.

Personally, I feel like loneliness is a blight on our modern society. Far too many older people are isolated and don’t have anybody to talk to, which must be exacerbated at Christmas time, when family and friends become the focus. This makes the sort of service provided by Kate and Jude vital and potentially life-saving.

So, cabbies are being urged to be generous at this time.

Studies have found that 5-15% of older people consistently report feeling lonely often or always and three-quarters of GPs in England have at least one appointment each day with someone whose main reason for coming is that they are lonely. Researchers have linked loneliness to mental and physical illnesses including heart disease and Alzheimer’s disease.

The girls will be doing their bit by serving dinners between 10am and 10pm on December 18. So, if you are passing through why not drop by and say hello to some of the visitors and make a donation. They have made a special request for donations in the form of toiletries, underwear, socks, hats, scarfs, gloves, sealed chocolate, biscuits and sweets.

If you can donate some of the above please put it in a box and mark, male, female or neutral so that they can be given out as gifts to the diners.

Katie Simmonds, the shelter keeper, says: ”This year I’m serving Christmas lunch for homeless and lonely veterans and am delighted that the Taxi Charity is supporting the day. I love London and despite the perception that people in London don’t have time in their busy lives to stop and help, I am always so very touched by the support I receive from my fellow Londoners to help those in need.”

The event is being supported by the Taxi Charity for Military Veterans, which has once again had a busy year taking ex-servicemen and women on international trips to Holland, Belgium and France, UK day trips to concerts or museums, and providing transport to attend fundraising events, as well as special days out to catch up with friends and comrades.

Gary Belsey, Chairman of the Taxi Charity, says: “The charity was formed 70 years ago by London’s licensed taxi drivers to support veterans of all conflicts and when Katie approached us to assist her in providing a free lunch for homeless or lonely veterans in London, we were very happy to help.”

It’s important to acknowledge both Kate and Jude’s efforts supporting trade charities over the year at the Russell Square shelter. They are brilliant and deserve all our support.”

Katie has said that they would also appreciate the donation of a gazebo and outdoor heater to use on the day. Plan Insurance has pledged to support this event by matching the Taxi Charity Donation.

I would like to wish everybody at the shelter and all of you a merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year.

Lloyd Baldwin is an LTDA Executive Support Officer

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