I am proud to serve this charity in its 86th year as its current Honorary Chairman and what a year we have had. For those of you who do not know about the children’s charity, the first ever trip started in 1928 when some of the London taxi drivers, who were themselves once children of the Norwood Orphanage, wanted to give something back and decided to take children from the Orphanage to Southend-on-Sea.
Since its inception, it has grown into a charity that has helped thousands of underprivileged children from all walks of life both physically and socially impaired, but all genuinely needing our help.
We started our year with the Mad Hatter’s tea party in January at the Grosvenor House (a JW Marriott Hotel) in Park Lane, where we entertained more than seven hundred children. Our Committee of fifteen trustees and their wives and partners, are assisted by taxi drivers and friends of the charity in putting on this worthy annual event. The children are entertained by an army of acts and entertainers, who over the years have given their time freely. It is such a great party, the children watch numerous acts, dance at the huge disco and then as a final treat they all leave through a toy grotto, taking home a huge bag of toys and other goodies. The looks on their faces is priceless!
In February we held a belated 85th celebration with a St. Valentine’s Dinner and Ball at London’s Guildhall and a fun night was had by all. Well done fellow trustee Michael Son for organising this event.
In the summer we held our annual outing to Southend-on-Sea. A convoy of 100 London taxis filled with children and bedecked with balloons, together with our auxiliary vehicles, set off from Victoria Park to Southend-on-Sea for an action packed day. It never fails to amaze me how so many people wave and support us year upon year along our journey.
We were also privileged to be invited to Her Majesty the Queen’s garden party, where myself and my wife Maria and our Hon. Treasurer, Lilian Julier, attended. It was a lovely occasion and an honour to attend.
We also gave our support to the Pearly Kings and Queens by attending their Harvest Festival at the Guildhall in the fall, where trustee Steven Bell and his wife Wendy dressed their cab in buttons; it was a proper ‘pearly cab’!
I would like to thank all the trustees and their wives and partners for their tireless hard work throughout the year and all of our sponsors and supporters. Your continued help and support allows us to do so much for the children of London.
I would also like to wish Bill Tyzack, BEM, the charity’s Hon. Life President, and his wife Grace, who have served this charity for over 50 years – good health, and to our trustee Larry Abrahams a speedy recovery. I would like to welcome our new trustees Bradley Winfield and Colin Greaves to the charity.
I would also like to take this opportunity to welcome SAINSBURY’S at Low Hall, Chingford, who have nominated us as their sponsored charity for the next two years.
On behalf of myself and my fellow trustees, we wish you all a very successful year ahead.