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Taxi Charity escorts veterans to Normandy to commemorate the 80th anniversary of D-Day

WWII veterans on Sword Beach. Photo courtesy of Robin Savage.

The Taxi Charity for Military Veterans was delighted to take a group of veterans to Normandy for the 80th anniversary of Operation Overlord.

On 4 June 2024, London taxi cabs drove 12 WWII veterans (including ten Normandy veterans), five post-WWII veterans and two Afghanistan veterans, plus a team of volunteers, carers, companions and medics, to France for the D-Day commemorations.


The five-day itinerary included commemoration services at Pegasus Museum, Ranville Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery and the village of Grangues, as well as visits to the Le Grand Bunker in Ouistreham and the Abbaye aux Dames in Caen.


The trip was led by London cab driver and Taxi Charity chairman, Colin Mills, who said: "What an honour to lead this group of veterans and volunteers as we came together to remember the events of 80 years ago. With us were veterans who had landed on the beaches, protected the channel, taught signalling to the troops and transmitted messages to the beaches - they enjoyed applause and thanks everywhere they went. We are proud to support veterans from all conflicts. Joining the Normandy veterans were those who had served after WWII in Korea and Kenya, as well as younger vets who had served in Afghanistan."


A convoy of black cabs in Normandy

London cab driver, Daren Parr, who has rowed the Atlantic and climbed Kilimanjaro to raise funds for the Taxi Charity, said: "This was my first European trip with the charity and it's something I will never forget, creating memories I will cherish forever. It was a real privilege being around these living legends. Getting to sit, talk and hear their stories was a real treat. I was hanging onto every word, asking questions and getting a unique insight into a big part of our history."


Normandy veteran, Les Underwood, at the British Normandy Memorial

WWII veteran, Marie Scott, who transmitted messages to the beaches, said: "What an amazing experience. I am fortunate to have travelled to Normandy on several occasions and always thoroughly enjoy my time away with this special charity, but this really was the best time ever. The Taxi Charity has given me so many incredible experiences over the years, but on 5 June this year, I had the honour of speaking at the commemoration service at Pegasus Museum in front of fellow veterans from England, Canada and America, as well as personnel representing all the services."



Entrepreneur and Taxi Charity ambassador, 29-year-old Johnny Gallagher, who recently raised £135,000 for the charity, said: "I am shocked to learn that less than half the youth of today know what D-Day is. I am truly hoping that my actions will inspire change to the education system so that more young people can learn and understand the sacrifice these veterans made for our country."


Taxi Charity ambassador Johnny Gallagher with veterans on Sword Beach



Notes

Johnny Gallagher raised over £135,000 in six days to support the Taxi Charity for Military Veterans. Some of the money paid for the veterans and the support team to travel to Normandy for the 80th anniversary of D-Day, and the rest will be used by the charity to fund future events and trips to the continent.

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