As the current financial year draws to a close, I once again have the task of writing my report and it is with immense pride I extend a warm welcome to Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall, who has agreed to become Patron of the Fund.
From a personal point of view, this year is perhaps more significant than previous years, as in 2010 I will have been a trustee of The London Taxidrivers’ Charity for Children for 25 years, serving as Hon. Treasurer for ten years and then Hon. Chairman for three terms of office – 1999 to 2001 and 2004 to the end of this financial year. No words can express the satisfaction derived from being part of such a worthy and well known trade organisation and I thank my fellow trustees, their wives and partners most sincerely for their loyal and unstinting support. Sadly during this year, Barry Levine, a well respected past member of the committee, passed away and on behalf of the committee, I send condolences to his wife Annette and his family, as I do to all those who have suffered loss.
Taking into account present world and domestic financial situations, all of which affect London’s licensed taxi trade in some way, I am delighted to report that generated income has maintained last year’s level. The total amount spent on charitable activities, grants and other costs did increase by about 10%, but nevertheless, our reserves are in good shape. This is due not only to the kindness and generosity of our numerous benefactors, but to many of London’s taxi drivers, who freely give their time when taking part in the outings, for which the LTFUC is so well known. In previous reports I have asked drivers to please think about giving up just one day in the year, and although it was gratifying to see new drivers this year, it would be even better to see more in the future.
The events organised by the LTFUC during the year, or those in which the Fund participated, all met with the same success, giving pleasure and excitement to many hundreds of disadvantaged children. The annual party at the Grosvenor House, the regular summer outing to Southend-on-Sea and this year’s trip to Woburn Safari Park in May were complemented by a number of events to which the Fund was invited. These included a theatre visit to see Sister Act; the Pearly Kings and Queens Harvest Festival and another Fun Day at Covent Garden. I was joined by Hon. Secretary Malcolm Shaffron at the Hilton Foundation Round the World Bike Ride, where we both helped to raise funds and the LTFUC was also invited to undertake a number of speaking engagements during the year, ably conducted by Malcolm and Press Officer Ray Levy, who were delighted to make other organisations aware of the Fund’s activities. As on so many previous occasions, several committee members attended the Barbeque/Prize-giving at the ‘Giving Kids a Break’ Summer Camp for deserving children from East London. I was also honoured to represent the LTFUC as a guest among distinguished company at a Buckingham Palace Garden Party, accompanied by Ray Levy and our wives. Reports on all these events can be found in much greater detail on www.ltcfc.org.uk and I take this opportunity to thank Maureen Levy for her diligence in ensuring this web site is continually updated and well-maintained.
During the course of the year, many appeals for funding were received and, as much as the LTFUC would like to support them all, it is just not possible. Among the successful were Woodfield School – granted £5,000 in the form of sports equipment and dependants of taxi drivers unable to provide through death or injury, who received £3,500. I am very proud of the fact that yet again, general administration costs have been kept to below 2%, due in no small part to Hon. Treasurer Sim Yiannikaris, who has reluctantly decided to relinquish this post. I thank him for his input, wish him and his family well and, although I was looking forward to joining the ‘back benches’, I have undertaken the role for the next twelve months ahead of trustee Lilian Julier accepting the responsibility. I also take this opportunity to wish my successor good luck for the next three years and, most importantly, to thank my wife Sandra for her welcome support over these last twenty-five years.
David S. Lessman