The London Taxidrivers’ Charity for Children celebrated 85 glorious years of helping disadvantaged children in 2013. This fund was started by a handful of drivers in the Leicester Square Shelter, now in Russell Square, who decided to give something back and take a few underprivileged children from the Norwood Orphanage to London Zoo. From this small beginning the charity grew to what it is today and our main objective is still the same. We are now a charity comprising of 13 trustees who are licensed London Taxi drivers and our time and expertise is given freely, keeping overheads down and ensuring that each child we help gets approximately 99p out of every pound we receive in donations.
In December 2012 I had the great honour to attend, with my husband Gerald, the Worshipful Company of Tin Plate Workers (alias Wireworkers) Christmas Dinner and I thank them for being both past and present great supporters of our Fund. Also in December the trustees and disabled children from the Bridge School were invited once again to attend Clarence House to help our Patron, HRH The Duchess of Cornwall, decorate the Christmas tree in the downstairs apartments. HRH has such a rapport with disabled children and a great time was had by all.
On 20th January 2013 our 85th anniversary celebrations really began, with our Mad Hatters Tea Party being held at the Grosvenor House (a JW Marriott Hotel) and in spite of Arctic weather conditions, the party was a brilliant success. The children had such a wonderful time and I must thank all those involved, too numerous to name, who made it such a special day. The Southend outing this year was full of fun and laughter. The taxis were covered in balloons and all sorts of decorations, but driver Steve Pulham and his helper Kay Molyneaux went one step further and made an excellent wooden 85th birthday cake for the top of their taxi and won first prize for their efforts. Thank you and well done to everyone who participated on the day. My husband Gerald and I had the privilege and honour to be invited to Buckingham Palace as part of Her Majesty’s Jubilee Celebrations. The sun was shining, the Royal Family were all in attendance and as a taxi driver, I felt very humble and appreciative to be part of this fantastic day.
In August we took children to see Matilda the Musical at the Cambridge Theatre and we thank the Royal Shakespeare Company for inviting us. The show was funny, poignant and just plain amazing and we thank all those involved in the day for giving the children a fantastic and unforgettable afternoon. In September the team behind the famous English farce ‘Run for your Wife’ hosted a Gala screening for the London Taxidrivers’ Charity for Children at the Stratford Theatre. The cast and the writer Ray Cooney made it such a special night and I cannot remember laughing so much at a film for a long time. My thanks go to all involved, with a special thank you going to Ray Cooney for donating a large cheque to us. Also in September, a few committee members and their wives joined me at the Pearly Harvest Festival, which started at the Guildhall and ended with a service being held at the St. Mary-le-Bow (Bow Bells) Church. This is such a traditional day for London and we are grateful to the Pearlies for giving us such great support every year.
In October we held ‘The Rank of Angels’ interfaith service at St. Paul’s Cathedral to celebrate our 85th anniversary. During the day we were granted the use of St. Paul’s Courtyard to promote the charity and to raise funds, which attracted many people. In the evening there was a Concert by the London Charity Orchestra, conducted by William Carslake, including the new London Children’s Choir and the Pembroke Academy of Music, conducted by Ronald Corp. To say thank you to all those involved does not seem enough. The day was wonderful and the evening serene and magical and we thank you most sincerely.
I have had three hard working, humbling and glorious years as Hon. Chair and it is now time to pass the mantle on. I look forward to working alongside and giving my total support to Simeos Yiannikaris, who will take on the position of Hon. Chair with as much gusto as all of us who have enjoyed the privilege before. Thank you to those of you too numerous to name, for the help and support you give the London Taxidrivers’ Charity for Children. I must also thank the Trustees, their wives and partners for their support; they are the best team ever. I also thank the drivers and their partners, as without you there would be no Fund. Last, but not least, thank you to my husband Gerald for his total support.