Chairman's Blog: 2019 Review



Last year was by far the busiest and most varied in our history. A year punctuated by historic and landmark anniversaries, ones which contained sombre, but also many uplifting moments.


Twelve unforgettable months that brought us widespread media attention. There were many highlights, some of which are included below.


January


Taxi Charity AGM



The charity kickstarted its year on 8 January with the AGM, held at the Royal Hospital Chelsea. This meeting was attended by all committee members, and the busy year ahead was discussed in detail.



February


London Ex-Boxers Association Annual Award Luncheon


On 17 February, five veterans joined Taxi Charity supporters and committee members at the London Ex-Boxers Association Annual Award Luncheon at the Grand Connaught Rooms. In recent years we have formed a close relationship with LEBA who continue to support us and we look forward to working with them in the coming years.


Collectors & Supporters Lunch, RAF Club



Our annual Collectors & Supporters Lunch was held on 21 February at the RAF Club in Piccadilly. This is our opportunity to thank our veteran collectors for their hard work and also our supporters for their generous donations and various fundraising initiatives. Read more...



March


D-Day Darlings Concert



On 1 March, Britain’s Got Talent finalists, The D-Day Darlings, invited veterans to a special concert at the Union Chapel in Highbury. The occasion was to perform their recently released debut album, I’ll Remember You.


The Taxi Charity, had previously organised transportation for veterans to appear with The D-Day Darlings at both the semi-final and final stages of BGT.


It was a magical night for the veterans, transporting them back to the 1940s. And there wasn't a dry eye in the house when the veterans were invited on stage to join the Darlings for their final song of the evening: a wonderful rendition of We’ll Meet Again. Read more...


North Cheam Veterans Lunch


On 6 March, veterans enjoyed a London-themed lunch at North Cheam Sports & Social Club and afterwards were entertained by the club’s regular band. The free event was hosted by our generous supporters, Tony and Sue Millard.


Normandy Recce Trips



Several planning trips to Normandy were required, particularly as the date of our D-Day 75 trip got closer. During our recce trip from 5 to 7 March, we travelled to Normandy with WWII veterans Bill Gladden, Frank Pendergast and Fred Glover to attend a press conference at Pegasus Bridge Museum to publicise our forthcoming trip. On our final day, the veterans took part in a Q&A session with the pupils from College St Louis in Cabourg. View more photos...



April


Variety Show


On 7 April, veterans were invited to the Charing Cross Theatre for a Taxis Talent Show, organised by committee member Frances Wyhowska. An afternoon of variety and fun was enjoyed by all, and part of the proceeds benefitted the Taxi Charity.


Many thanks to special guest star Maureen Lipman CBE, Frances Wyhowska, Vaughan Williams, Jon Cox, Joe Cartwright and Grant Davis (editor of The Badge newspaper), who compered the event.


Navy veterans trip to Portsmouth



Over the last year, we have formed a close working partnership with the Royal Navy and Royal Marines Charity (RNRMC). During April, the RNRMC invited 18 Royal Navy veterans to Portsmouth for a three-day visit of the city and surrounding area.


Highlights of the trip included lunch at Whale Island in the Wardroom of HMS Excellent, a visit to the Historic Dockyard and a tour of Southwick House, the former D-Day headquarters and the original D-Day Map Room. Read more...



May


Golf Day Fundraiser



On 3 May, our annual fundraising golf day was held at Cuddington Golf Club, Surrey, which raised just over £10,000. Veterans were invited to join the golf teams during the day and later enjoyed an evening meal with the players. Once again, this event was successfully organised by committee member Dennis Hayes.


Netherlands - Dutch Liberation Commemorations

For many World War II veterans, our visit to the Netherlands during early May (2 - 6 May) to mark the anniversary of Dutch Liberation is the highlight of their year. On this occasion, we escorted 35 veterans.


Our five-day stay began with a visit to the Dutch Royal Marine Barracks in Rotterdam. Our itinerary included opportunities for veterans to pay respects to their fallen comrades, with visits to war cemeteries at Arnhem-Oosterbeek, Heteren and Reichswald Forest in Germany.


Since 2012, the Taxi Charity has been bringing veterans to Wageningen to enjoy the nation’s Liberation Day celebrations and participate in its centrepiece event - the Liberation Parade.


Our veterans were granted special permission to be carried in two 16-seater golf buggies and two London taxis, and led the parade which contained a wide variety of military vehicles.


The convoy slowly wound its way along the 5 km route whilst our veterans waved to the cheering crowds lining the streets. Many onlookers handed veterans flowers and thanked them for liberating their country. It was a remarkable and uplifting occasion. Read more...


Berlin Airlift 70th Anniversary



Later that month (10 - 13 May), we took six RAF veterans to Berlin to attend an anniversary service at Tempelhof Memorial Park to mark 70 years since the end of the Berlin Airlift. This was followed by a reception with the Mayor of Berlin and VIP guests from the six nations who supported the Airlift.


The visit to Berlin was a completely new venture for our charity, and included a visit to the Brandenburg Gate and Checkpoint Charlie. Read more...