On 4 July, over 50 volunteer black cab drivers took veterans to Worthing for the Taxi Charity’s 75th anniversary visit.
In a tradition stretching back to 1948, veterans who are supported by the Taxi Charity have been treated to a day at the coast for a fish and chip lunch.
Now in its 75th year, the Taxi Charity’s annual day trip to the coast has always begun with the volunteer London cab drivers rendezvous-ing in the small village of South Holmwood for a refreshment stop and a wonderful buffet prepared by the residents.
The London black cabs then drove in convoy to the esplanade in Worthing where the veterans were met by the Worthing and Adur Town Crier, Bob Smytherman, and escorted into the Pavilion Theatre.
Veterans, cab drivers and invited guests were welcomed by the Mayor of Worthing, Cllr Jon Roser, and then enjoyed fish and chips followed by ice cream. After lunch, 102-year-old Flt Lt (Retd) Colin Bell DFC, who served in WWII as a Mosquito Bomber Pilot and completed over 50 missions, shared stories from his life.
After speeches from the Taxi Charity chairman, Brian Heffernan, and Taxi Charity patron, Vice-Admiral Sir Adrian Johns, KCB, CBE, KStJ, DL, guests were entertained by rock band The Accents, who much to the delight of the older veterans, had learnt some popular songs from WWII.
London cab driver and chairman of the Taxi Charity, Brian Heffernan, said: "Every year we receive the most wonderful welcome from the residents of South Holmwood and Worthing. As well as veterans from WWII, we were joined by younger veterans who served in Iraq, Afghanistan and the Falklands, who are all eligible for our support. This day is a very popular event and it couldn’t happen without the generosity of the London cab drivers who give up a day’s pay to volunteer their time to pick up veterans from London and the home counties.
"This is a very important year for the charity as we celebrate our 75th anniversary, but we do have concerns that with the country still feeling the effects of Covid and the cost of living crisis, donations and grants are at significantly lower levels and we are devastated that there is a real chance that we may have to cancel some of our future trips."
To donate to the Taxi Charity, visit www.taxicharity.org/donations.
London cab driver and chairman of the Taxi Charity, Brian Heffernan
Black cabs on Worthing Esplanade
Inside the Pavilion Rooms