On Saturday 8th November 2008 the London Taxidrivers’ Charity for Children were honoured to wind up their 80th anniversary year by taking part in the very prestigious 793rd Lord Mayor’s Show, which introduced the 681st Lord Mayor of the City of London, Ian Luder. The day started with the Committee meeting at Shoreditch Fire Station at 6.30 am, on a very dark, damp and dismal morning and then moving on to Smithfield Meat Market where we immediately set about the task of decorating our taxis under cover. Once completed, we eagerly awaited the arrival of our special passengers, who were very deserving children from the Pam Mason Group based in Bow, east London and following their arrival there were screams of excitement as they clambered aboard our especially built giant 36 foot porcelain taxi, about to embark on an adventure they would never forget.
We had to join the 3-mile procession at London Wall and being No. 95 in the parade meant we had quite a long wait, but the time passed quickly with the arrival of our Honorary Life Members, the wonderful Bournemouth Carnival Band. Dressed as Batmen, they arrived in style marching along, trumpets blaring, and everyone welcomed them with loud cheers and rapturous applause. From the moment they joined us the gloomy atmosphere was transformed into one of non stop fun and laughter and they continually kept us all amused and entertained.
The procession had started at 11 am at the Mansion House, travelling down Cheapside to St. Paul’s Cathedral, where the Lord Mayor arrived at 12.10pm to be blessed before proceeding to the Royal Courts of Justice on the Strand, where he swore allegiance to the Sovereign. After a much needed lunch, a very wet procession then made its way back to the City, finishing at around 2.30 pm. At the front of our spectacular entry were children of two LTFUC committee members holding our 80th anniversary banner, followed by committee members and their wives holding the fund’s yellow and blue ‘logo’ golf umbrellas, topped with balloons. Behind them a committee member drove the lead taxi showing the fund’s name, alongside which the brilliant Bournemouth Carnival Band marched, all dressed as Batmen.
They were followed by a brilliant taxi Batmobile designed and driven by taxi driver Steven Bell dressed as Batman, who was joined by his wife Wendy as Robin. Alongside them was a Pink Rabbit taxi, also driven by a committee member and this had also been designed by Steven. Behind them came the fund’s pride and joy, which had taken a month to build, a lorry carrying a 36 foot long porcelain taxi, with all the children on board smiling and waving flags. Behind this were two more committee taxis covered with posters showing the various destinations visited on our children’s outings. All the taxis had been adorned with yellow and blue balloons and our entry made a very colourful sight. The huge crowds gave us and the Band an excellent reception and every time we approached a different section of onlookers or turned a corner, the cheers got louder.
As the day progressed, the weather continued to deteriorate, yet we were pleasantly surprised to see thousands of people still lining the streets frantically waving Union Jack flags, cheering and encouraging the 6,000 performers in the procession – wonderful!
As bad weather could never dampen our spirits, a brilliant day was had by all and we are deeply grateful to the following for all their help and support: The Borough Commander and Station Commander Why of Shoreditch Fire Station; Bandmaster Dean Davies and the Bournemouth Carnival Band; Mr John McGee of the McGee Demolition Group, Wembley for donating the lorry; Mr Tony Diaz and his four sons of Big Stuff Design, Burnham on Crouch, Essex for building the giant Taxi; and last but not least Steven Bell and his wife Wendy for all their help and support.
To add a comical note, Steven Bell tells me that after the parade he took the ‘batmobile’ taxi to his local dump to dispose of the ‘batmobile’ parts and the dump are now the proud owners of a newly decorated ‘batmobile’ digger!! Glad to say the giant taxi will not be going to the dump, but will eventually take pride of place on the roof of the Vanguard Storage building on the Western Avenue, A40, where past exhibits have been a canon, a light aircraft, an Aston Martin and a single decker bus!!
Our grateful thanks must also go to the Rt. Hon. The Lord Mayor of London, Ian Luder, for allowing us to bring our great 80th anniversary year to an end by participating in his show. What a great way to finish a highly rewarding, triumphant and glorious 80th anniversary year.
Well done to the Committee for all the hard work involved in holding so many wonderful outings and events this year.
Raymond Levy (Press Officer)