Dear Members, Friends, and Supporters,
When Covid affected all of us, including the LTCFC, abandoning all our events was a tremendous disappointment. However, I am delighted to report that 2022 with the continued support of our benefactors, London taxi drivers, and the public, the dedication of the LTCFC Committee, this year has been extremely successful. However, like most within our industry, I know the trade’s difficulties in some areas. The reduction of cabs to work, the ever-increasing maintenance costs, the closure of some taxi companies, the many road closures for one reason or another, and the ever-increasing issue of penalty notices. All affect the working practice of the renowned London taxi service. The hours drivers must work to stay ahead of financial commitments. I mention this because these factors did also have an impact on the LTCFC.
Since 1928 the charity has relied on the generosity of taxi drivers who invest their time in helping the charity achieve its mission of helping less fortunate children enjoy the children’s taxi outings and other events for the past ninety-five years. Indeed 2023 is a significant year for the charity as we celebrate 95 years of helping special needs and disadvantaged children. Our success is due to the efforts of our dedicated committee members, taxi drivers, their wives/partners, and their families. Our assistance to many worthy causes could only be achieved with help from our supporters and financial benefactors. I also thank the taxi trade media for their assistance in promoting the efforts of the LTCFC.
At this point, I offered my personal gratitude to our Patron Her Majesty, The Queen Consort for her continued interest and support of the activities of the LTCFC. On behalf of the Executives, Committee, Associate Members, and children, thank you for your continued support.
I hope you enjoy reading the following 2022 report and the activities undertaken by the LTCFC.
Special Garden Project 15th May 2022
Our first venture was to help fund and implement the renovation of the Norwood Buckets and Spades Garden in Finchley. So, on Sunday, 15th May, the LTCFC volunteers descended on the Buckets & Spades Centre armed with their gardening equipment and a huge assortment of flowers, bulbs, shrubs, evergreens, and trees. ‘Buckets and Spades is Norwood’s respite care home for children with multiple profound learning disabilities and associated physical disabilities. This provides an opportunity for any child to have an enjoyable and stimulating break from their family whilst also giving family members and regular carers a much-needed ‘break’ from the routines of care, safe in the knowledge that their child is receiving professional, round-the-clock attention.
Fun at the Docklands Sailing and Watersports Centre 10th June 2022
On Friday 10th June 2022, the LTCFC took Thirty disadvantaged children from St Luke’s School on the Isle of Dogs for a fun day out, a fun-packed day learning to kayak and paddle boarding, assisted by the Docklands Centre instructors. The experience has increased their confidence and ability to cope with future issues they may have to overcome. Due to the project’s success, hopefully, this will be a frequent event for many other children organised by the LTCFC.
Lord Mayors Show 12th November 2022
I am pleased to report that the London Taxi Drivers’ Charity for Children was invited to join the 2022 Lord Mayor’s Show on Saturday, 12th November. My colleagues and I were thrilled when we were informed that a benefactor, who wished to remain anonymous, sponsored our entry. The theme was ‘continuity in the City of London’. Although there have been so many changes, in the city, with that in mind, I considered it important to represent our stability and continuity in assisting special needs and disadvantaged children since 1928 and the dependability of the London taxi industry. Therefore, I was pleased to receive an offer of support from the Ubiquitous Taxi Media Team, who designed advertising for our electric taxis. We invited twelve children and their helpers to enjoy the day onboard four LTCFC-liveried electric taxis. Waving to the thousands of spectators, the children were so excited. One of the children said she felt like a celebrity. It was evident that the crowds of well-wishers had a wonderful time as they shouted appreciative comments, cheered, and clapped as the taxis passed by. In addition, several entertainers that support our efforts every year at parties and outings were eager to join us in the parade. The BBC coverage did contain our entry and an interview. I am hopeful our involvement in this year’s event will encourage more regular donations, allowing us to help many more children.
The Queen Consort, Paddington Bear & the LTCFC Project 24th November 2022
The next event was undoubtedly very unusual and surely unique. As some may be aware, Her Majesty Queen Consort (formally The Duchess of Cornwall) has been the Patron of our charity for several years. On the 5th of November, I had a phone call from a member of the office of the Queen Consort, Clarence House, with a very unusual request. As we all know, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth 11 passed away on 8th September 2022. In tribute to The Queen, public members placed Paddington Bears and flowers at Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle, and Green Park to offer their sympathies and feelings regarding such a tragic loss. However, during the following weeks, members of Buckingham Palace staff collected and cleaned the bears. The Queen Consort decided it would be appropriate to find a new home for them. They were to be taken to Bernardo’s Nursery in Bow, East London. During the following weeks, I had a call from the Deputy Secretary to Her Majesty, asking if the London Taxi Drivers’ Charity for Children could supply taxis for this special event. Two committee members, Claire Zazzara and Antony Moore, were delighted to accept the invitation. Their TX Electric Cabs had hampers packed with Paddington Bears for the children. As well as my colleagues, another London taxi driver Dave Sheridon was invited to join the event. Dave was a Royal Protection officer until his retirement and became a London taxi driver. With his experience in his previous Royal Household assignments, he led the convoy with the Queen Consort on board. The LTCFC cabs carried the hampers of Paddington Bears for the children, the two Range Rovers, one with Royal Protection Officers, another with the press and six police motorcycle escorts. It was an honour for the LTCFC to contribute to Her Majesty’s special children’s occasion. As I was also a passenger in one of the taxis together with a member of the military protecting our VIP Paddington Bear, it was certainly an experience driving through the streets of London with police escorts. No traffic jams or stopping at the red lights. It is the only way to travel!
Mad Hatters Tea Party 29th January 2023
The start of celebrations is the return of the Mad Hatters Tea Party at the JW Grosvenor House, Park Lane, London, on 29th January 2023.
Southend on Sea Children’s Taxi Outing 12th July 2023
The Southend on Sea Children’s taxi outing is now being planned for the summer. This outing has been organised for over 50 years. If there are taxi drivers who would like to join the Driver’s Support Team or others that would like to know what additional help you can offer, please phone 0300 365 4404 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Condolences to those who have endured the loss of loved ones
As I previously mentioned, the passing of our beloved Queen Elizabeth is a tragic loss. However, it is also important to know that many families have had to endure the loss of loved ones during the year, specifically children who succumbed to failing health. The passing of these children has left a tremendous void within their families and friends. It was also with great sorrow that I heard of the bereavement of several London taxi drivers, some of whom had supported our efforts for many years. On behalf of the LTCFC committee, we offer our sincere condolences to their families and all who have suffered such distress.
The Committee is not immune from medical issues
Committee member Simeos Yiannikaris who has served on the committee for many years suffered a debilitating stroke a while ago. However, I am delighted to let you know that he is improving daily and with medical intervention, physiotherapy, and the love and care he receives from his wife, Maria, family, and friends. We wish him a speedy recovery and look forward to Sim returning as a valued team member.
LTCFC Grants and Assistance
As well as raising funds for outings and other children’s events, we continue to offer financial assistance to those in desperate need of help. We also gave grants to food banks, which are still a lifeline for families going through difficult times. The committee meet monthly to discuss many topics, including outings and other help we can offer. Appeal’s Liaison, Claire, received many letters from individual families in desperate need of help. It is important to know that our aid also extends to schools, hospitals, and various children’s homes. Financial assistance for purchasing medical, mobility equipment, sensory toys, and computers with specialised software for children with autism and other profound learning difficulties to communicate outside their world.
Donations from Supporters
‘CABBIES DO KILIMANJARO 2’ Team