On 5 July 2022, after a break for the past two summers, 60 black cabs once again made the journey from London to Worthing with a group of veterans.
Every year since 1948, apart from during the pandemic, the Taxi Charity has been taking veterans to Worthing for the day, to spend time with their friends and enjoy a meal and entertainment.
As per long-held tradition, the volunteer cab drivers gathered in the small village of South Holmwood, near Dorking in Surrey, from 9am for the veterans to enjoy home-made sandwiches, cakes and refreshments made by the villagers and perhaps the odd glass of beer.
Once refreshed, the cabs were waved off by the people of South Holmwood and travelled in convoy along the A24 to Worthing where they were met on arrival by the Mayor of Worthing, Councillor Henna Chowdhury, Bob Smytherman, the Worthing town crier, the press and many locals and holidaymakers who were delighted to see them return to The Promenade Rooms on the pier after the pandemic forced a two-year break.
The Taxi Charity volunteers, veterans, and invited guests enjoyed a fish and chip lunch and entertainment from Mickie Driver and Mike Marandi. The guest speaker, double above knee amputee Darren Swift who was injured by an IRA bomb in May 1991 while serving with the Army’s Dog Unit in Belfast, gave an emotional and inspirational talk.
Ian Parsons, chairman of the Taxi Charity, said: "We’ve enjoyed memorable trips to the Netherlands and Normandy recently, but there’s no place like home. And Worthing has been the Taxi Charity’s home for almost 75 years. Veterans and cabbies have always enjoyed our annual visit to this lovely seaside town, and after missing two trips during the pandemic, this was an emotional return. It was a pleasure to be back amongst friends and I’d like to thank all our wonderful volunteers for making this possible."
WWII veteran, Ernie Davis, said: "It was so good to be back in Worthing again with the amazing Taxi Charity. The volunteer cab drivers look after us all so well and it was great to spend the day with so many friends that I have made through the charity."
Notes to Editors
The Taxi Charity last visited Worthing in 2019. The 2020 and 2021 visits, cancelled due to pandemic restrictions, are the only two that have had to be cancelled since 1948.