I am pleased to say that in 2012 the London Taxidrivers’ Charity for Children will be celebrating 84 years of helping disabled and disadvantaged children. The fund is made up of a group of trustees, eleven men and two women, and it gives me pride and pleasure to say that following the footsteps of many great honorary Chairmen, I became Honorary Chair in December 2010. My first act as Honorary Chair was to present the Joseph Clarke School for children with visual impairment and other health problems, with some special computer equipment which enabled the students to take their GCE’s and ‘A’ levels on software compatible to their needs. What a day it was. The energy of the pupils and the commitment of the teachers was amazing and very heart rendering.
In December 2010 we were graciously invited to Clarence House by our patron, Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Cornwall, to take some disabled children from the Jack Taylor School for lunch and to help decorate a Christmas tree in the ground floor of Clarence House. What a day we all had and may I thank HRH the Duchess of Cornwall for the most special invite. Also in December 2010 for the first time in this charity’s history we held a Gala Christmas Concert in St. John’s, Smith Square, featuring The London Charity Orchestra with Sir William Carslake conducting, plus guest soloist Emma Halnan with Flute and Hannah Butler with Harp and the choir of the Finchley Children’s Music Group. I would like to thank all those wonderful musicians and choristers for their time and expertise and for making the evening such a tremendous success. I would also like to thank those who sponsored the evening.
Then came January 2011 and the 39th annual Mad Hatter’s Tea Party in the Great Room at The Grosvenor House. This year there was over 600 disabled and disadvantaged children at this great event and I would like to thank all the celebrities, the various performers, the clowns and furry characters etc. for their input. I would also like to thank the Grosvenor House and staff for their continued support in allowing us to stage this event. In June 2011 Bill Tyzack BEM, Lilian Julier, Ray Levy and I were invited to meet HRH The Princess Royal, Princess Anne, at the Ahoy Centre in Bermondsey. HRH Princess Anne was very gracious and seemed very understanding on the subjects that us London cabbies like to chat about, you know, weather, traffic, putting the world to rights etc.
In July 2011 we had our annual outing to Southend for over 300 disabled and disadvantaged children. A great big thank you is sent to all those people involved. Also in July 2011 we attended the summer barbeque of ‘”Giving Kids a Break”. We donate to this very good cause and it is good to see how well spent our donation is. September 2011 saw us participating in the ‘Pearlies’ Harvest Festival at The Guildhall and afterwards at the famous St Mary-Le-Bow Church in the City of London. The Pearly Kings and Queens support us constantly for which we are very grateful. October 2011 was the date of our FUN DAY in Covent Garden, when we took over a part of the Piazza and a great time was had by all those who attended. In December 2011 we had great pleasure in attending the Taxi Driver of the Year dinner dance and are very grateful for their continued support and for the cheque donated to us.
My first year as Honorary Chair has brought many exciting and wonderful events to preside over. The meetings are always a lively affair with each project sorted, sometimes with or without humour, but always with professionalism. I work alongside a most wonderful set of committee members, these hard working guys and girls are a great team. We work for no remuneration as hard as we all can and give that most precious commodity, time. I look forward to whatever the next year brings us as trustees because I know that we will do our best and I thank them for their continued support.
I would also like to thank the wives and partners of the trustees, Grace, Evelyn and Sandra, for their help and understanding. Maureen for her help and kindness, for the party entertainers and for her website prowess. Elaine for her help at events, Ros and Maxine for their help and common sense, Maria, Tony and Susan for your help and kindess and all for their patience and last, but not least, my husband Gerald whose love and support I could not do without.
Larry Abrahams retired at the AGM, so I would like to take this opportunity to thank him on behalf of the Honorary President, the trustees and the children for his hard work and commitment over the many years he has belonged to this fund. I would also like to thank his wife Susan for her hard work and support and to wish them good health and happiness in their retirement.
Sheldon Collins left the fund this year and on behalf of the Honorary President and the trustees we would like to thank him for his past endeavours. I also thank Helen and the children for their help and wish them all the best in the future.
Last but not least I would like to thank the DRIVERS, their partners, their families and all those people who tirelessly give up their time to come along and support the London Taxidrivers’ Charity for Children time and time again.
Full reports of the fund’s activities can be found on our website.