As chairman of this wonderful charity, I was so sorry to hear the sad news of Dame Vera Lynn’s passing.
My involvement with the Taxi Charity began in 2014, so, unfortunately, I never got the chance to meet the great lady. That is my loss.
Her contribution to our nation is incalculable, and the Taxi Charity was so proud to have her as our patron.
We send our condolences to her family.
Michael Calvey, chairman of the Taxi Charity from 2005 – 2008, shares these memories of Dame Vera Lynn, who was patron of the charity for over 50 years.
It is impossible to describe the way that Dame Vera could lift the veterans’ spirits. They loved her. There was a magical aura about her which will be missed by everyone who met her.
I vividly recall our meeting at Horseguards in 1994. The veterans and cabs were going to Normandy for the 50th anniversary. Dame Vera came to see us off after we had been inspected by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth the Queen Mother. They were great friends and it was an immense honour for us to be in the presence of two such inspiring people. Field-Marshall the Lord Bramall was also in attendance, as were the Allied Military Attaches and a military band. What a memory.
One of my favourite moments was at the Imperial War Museum. It was Dame Vera’s birthday and I was presenting her with a bouquet of flowers on behalf of the charity. As I approached our patron, I chanced upon the former Prime Minister Baroness Thatcher. We had a brief conversation at the end of which she assumed the flowers were for her! After a gentle tug-of-war I explained that they were for Dame Vera and Maggie was greatly amused.
In 2007, Dame Vera joined the charity at a reception at Clarence House when we were invited by His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall. Dozens of veterans were invited and they all met and spoke to our hosts. The Pimms flowed freely and everyone had a fantastic time as we always did whenever Dame Vera was present.