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Seventy black cabs take veterans to Worthing


On 2 July, 70 volunteer cab drivers from the Taxi Charity drove veterans to Worthing for a day out at the seaside.


Over 100 veterans from London and the home counties enjoyed a day in Worthing, courtesy of volunteer cab drivers who support the Taxi Charity for Military Veterans.


An annual tradition: refreshments at South Holmwood Village Hall

After rendezvousing for refreshments in the village of South Holmwood, the cabs drove in convoy to the Pavilion Theatre on the Worthing Pier.


The veterans were welcomed onto the Marine Parade by Bob Smytherman, the official Town Crier for the Borough of Worthing and Adur, before entering the magnificent Art Deco building.


Guest speaker, Matt Hellyer, from Pilgrim Bandits

The veterans enjoyed a fish and chip lunch before guest speaker Matt Hellyer, the Chief Executive of the charity Pilgrim Bandits, who reached the rank of Warrant Officer in the SAS, served in every conflict over the past three decades and completed over 400 operations, spoke about his life and experiences.


Taxi Charity Chairman, Colin Mills, thanked the Mayor Of Worthing, Cllr Ibsha Choudhury, for donating the splendid venue and finding parking for the cabs along the seafront.


The Mayor's Consort, The Mayor of Worthing and WWII veteran Bob Gravells

As is customary on the annual visit to the coast, which has been a highlight for veterans since 1948, the guests were entertained, and had the chance to get up and dance or join in with the singing before the raffle was drawn. Then the cabs took the veterans home – meter off!


Colin Mills said: "This was my first Worthing outing as Chairman of the Taxi Charity and I am delighted that the team who organised the day did such a fantastic job and everyone I spoke to said they’d had a really good time. On the journey back home via South Holmwood, I thanked everyone at the village hall. They were delighted that so many had stopped off at the village hall on their journey home from Worthing and I assured them we will be back next year and the tradition will continue."


Afghanistan veteran, Ben Mead, said: "Yesterday was a phenomenal day. Being able to enjoy the camaraderie and the banter between veterans and the taxi drivers is truly priceless. It is like being in the military where you don’t see each other for weeks, but suddenly whenever everyone gets together, the conversation and the laughs carry on, as if it was only yesterday. As always, when leaving to come home, I was full of happiness and had a huge smile on my face, thanks to the Taxi Charity for Military Veterans."


Andy McClaren and WWII veteran, Norrie Bartlett

Andy McClaren, who accompanied WWII veteran Norrie Bartlett to Worthing, said: "Typically superb day laid on by the cabbies for our cherished vets. Well organised boys and girls.”



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