This year marks the 75th anniversary of the Taxi Charity for Military Veterans and the milestone was celebrated in style at the Royal Air Force Club.
The London-based volunteer organisation works for the benefit of veterans from all conflicts. It relies on licensed London taxi drivers who volunteer their time and vehicles to provide veterans with regular outings and trips abroad.
The charity was formed by three cab drivers in the Bedford Arms, Fulham, in 1948 following a conversation about supporting their friends who had been injured during the First World War, which led to the idea of a charity to support veterans.
The RAF Club was the venue for the first event of its 75th anniversary year, hosting more than 20 Second World War veterans, who arrived in familiar style – in taxis.
'A band of brothers'
Forces News spoke to veteran Ken Hay, who was captured by Nazis while on night patrol as a teenage soldier and was eventually forced on what became known as the 'long march' of 1,000 miles with other prisoners.
He said: "I dropped out and laid down in the snow. I would have gone to sleep and would have just frozen to death.
"Two guys picked me up, one talking about strawberry shortcake, and the other one talking about fish and chips and then I realised I was being a burden and carried on."
The veteran added: "Those two guys saved my life, I have no doubt about it.
"That sort of camaraderie, where do you get it today?
"Unless you come to the taxi drivers, you go out with these guys, they are a band of brothers."
The charity has also organised international trips to the Netherlands, Belgium and France.
In 1987, the charity took 200 disabled ex-servicemen to Dunkirk, marking its first trip to the European mainland.
Then in 2007, veterans and volunteers from The Taxi Charity were even invited to Clarence House by Prince Charles, which was "one of the highlights of the charity's history".
The charity is hoping to celebrate its milestone with other events, including one on International Women's Day, a party in the summer, a joint outing with the Household Cavalry, and a shooting and a fishing day.
To help fund these events the charity has launched a '75 for 75' campaign and hopes to reach a £75,000 fundraising goal on its Just Giving page or via the Taxi Charity website.
View original article: www.forces.net/military-life/forces-charities/taxi-charity-military-veterans-celebrates-75-years-service