Born in 1959 in Kensington, Dennis Hayes is a London cabbie and sits on the committee of a charity very close to his heart - the Taxi Charity for Military Veterans.
After learning a bit about his background, Taxi Editor decided to catch up with Dennis to find out a little more…
Ed - Before becoming a cabbie, your life was very different?
It was indeed. I had a 26-year career with the military and then worked in the security business in the UK and abroad, before doing The Knowledge.
I had an amazing career in the Parachute Regiment between 1977-2003 as both a Regular and a Reservist and saw active service in Northern Ireland, Kosovo and Iraq, completing three tours with 1 Para and three tours with The Pathfinder Platoon.
While I was in the elite force Pathfinder Unit, I learnt the special skills of halo (military freefall) which led me to join the Red Devils Parachute Team.
Ed - Tell me about The Red Devils…
I was very honoured to be part of the Red Devils Competition Team and in my final tour with them I was promoted to Team Display Leader. I travelled all over the world with them doing demonstrations and competitions.
I competed in the Nationals where we performed well enough to go to the World Championships in 1991, representing Great Britain in former Czechoslovakia and finishing in the top ten.
In 1987 during my first tour with the Red Devils, I jumped out of a Chinook into Greenwich to represent the army and met Her Majesty the Queen. In the 90s, I parachuted into Wembley, in full England Kit carrying the match ball before an England v Georgia game and had a penalty shootout against my childhood hero, Chelsea and England goalkeeper Peter Bonnetti.
Ed - How did you find out about the Taxi Charity?
In 2013, when I was a Yellow Badge, I picked up a Chelsea Pensioner from the Putney Rank who was wearing a Parachute Regiment staple belt which signified he had been in the Paras.
I asked which Battalion he had been in and he had been in 1 Para, the same unit as me. At the end of our long conversation he suggested I find out about the Taxi Charity and liking what I heard about them I became one of their regular drivers, volunteering for charity events across the UK and in The Netherlands and France.
With my military background it was great to be part of this group, so I was delighted when just a year later in 2014, I was asked to join the committee and some six years later I’m still helping them to support veterans.
Ed - Tell me about your amazing Fundraising Golf Days I keep hearing about!
Every year I plan a fundraising Golf Day at Cuddington Golf Club in Surrey to raise much needed money for the Taxi Charity and in the last three years we have raised an amazing £40,000.
This year we had to cancel the fundraising day - but I am already planning for next summer’s event. If you are a golfer Mr. Editor, we’d love you to join us!