On Tuesday 26th June 2012 the London Taxidrivers’ Fund for Underprivileged children, in their 84th anniversary year, treated 250 deserving children to a fun filled day on another of their legendary outings to Southend-on-Sea and what a great time the children had. Over the years thousands of needy children have been taken on this trip and it just keeps getting better and better !
The drivers started arriving at Victoria Park at 7am, the sun was shining and the camaraderie was just brilliant as the drivers set about decorating their Jubilee-themed cabs whilst waiting for their special little passengers to arrive. On hand to entertain the children was our wonderful Miss Ballooniverse, the Furry Tail Folk, Crest Bear and clown Jolly Jack, who all did a marvellous job keeping them amused and we thank them most sincerely.
Also present to meet the children and wave them on their way was the Lady Mayoress of the City of London, Mrs Elizabeth Wootton, the Lay Sheriff of the City of London, Sheriff Wendy Mead, Councillor Mizan Chaudhury, office of the Chair of Council of Tower Hamlets and Mr Michael Henderson-Begg CC, Clerk to the Worshipful Company of Tin Plate Workers Alias Wire Workers and we thank them for giving up their valuable time to join us. As Mr Henderson-Begg was due to retire, the fund’s Hon. Chair, Susan Angel, presented him with a miniature mounted model taxi and a Certificate making him an Honorary member of the Fund and we all wish him well for the future.
Breakfast was then provided by the Victoria Park Cafe and we thank them and Victoria Park management for their generosity. At 10am the 100 plus taxi convoy set off and what a great sight it made, the horn-blowing cabs all adorned with red, white and blue bunting and balloons and the children waving their Union Jack flags and the drivers’ efforts were soon rewarded by the loud cheers from the many people lining the route to wave us on our way. (The 300 hand waving flags had been donated by John and Mark of the House of Logos and we are deeply grateful to them for their kind donation). Special thanks also go to the City of London Police outriders for coming to escort us and we are also grateful to the RAC and St. John’s Ambulance for joining the convoy and for all the excellent help and support they give us every year. There was a delay during the outbound journey following a road traffic incident. We send sincere condolences to the family involved and best wishes for a speedy recovery to the Police outrider.
On arrival at a sunny Southend, we were all given lunch at the Cliffs Pavilion and we thank the management and staff for their help and co-operation. The children were then ferried down to Adventure Island in mini buses provided by Brian Houssart, MBE, Hon. President of the Southend Taxi Charity Fund for Children and we are deeply grateful to him for his continued support and also the drivers who helped him. As I walked around Adventure Island it was great watching the children’s laughing faces and hearing their screams of delight as they were going from ride to ride whilst demolishing candyfloss, donuts and ice creams at the same time, many drivers finding it difficult to keep up! The Committee thank the management and staff at Adventure Island for donating the rides and helping us to make the outing possible.
At 4.45pm it was back to the Cliffs Pavilion for a tea and disco and we thank Rob and Tom of the Furry Tail Folk, clown Jolly Jack, balloonist Tony Hanscombe, Miss Ballooniverse, Southend’s Salvo the Clown, Sarah (Snow White), Ruth and her two Pat-a-Dogs and the two facepainters, Joanne and Sarah of Mr Crafty’s Kid’s Parties for keeping the children amused. DJ, Dave Davies, was on hand to provide his usual brilliant disco and we thank him and his team. We are also deeply grateful for the continued support of Alan and Sheila Jones of the Southend Carnival Court and thank them for bringing the Queen and two Princesses along to meet and greet the children.
We were really pleased to have the Mayor of Southend, Councillor Sally Carr, join us and thank her for giving up her valuable time to be with us and for presenting prizes to the following winners :
Winner of the Best Decorated Taxi – Cab No. 76 – Steve Pulham
Steve won the Terry Stapleton Rose Bowl for a year and a voucher from Vince White Taxis of Waltham Abbey for a full engine service and front brake pads, or choice of £150 cash and we are deeply grateful to Vince White for donating this prize. Steve’s helper received a box of chocolates.
Runner up of Best Decorated Taxi – Cab No. 93 – Marvin Houstin
Marvin received the Peter Lucas Shield for a year, a Bottle of Champagne and chocolates for his helper.
Winner of Free Raffle Draw – Cab No. 33 – Salvatore Trupia
Salvatore won an overnight stay with breakfast for two at the Connaught Hotel in Mayfair and we are deeply grateful to the hotel for donating this prize.
All good things must come to an end and at 6pm the weary but happy children were each handed a stick of Southend rock as they left. The rocks had been donated by Southend’s Paul Van Looey for which we are deeply grateful and we also extend grateful thanks to Annette for her efforts in getting them. Foil ‘Taxi’ Balloons on sticks were also given to each child and special thanks must go to Mr Chris Smalley of Amscan International Ltd for kindly donating these to us and to Linda for making it happen.
We also thank Radiocoms Systems Ltd for the loan of their communication equipment and the Essex Police outriders for escorting us out of Southend on our way. Special thanks must go to the anonymous donor for donating £25 to each driver for their fuel and to ex committee member Larry Abrahams for coming out of retirement to give us his help which was much appreciated. We also thank all the wonderful Sponsors whose donations helped us to make this outing possible and we are also very grateful to the many radio stations for their coverage in the morning.
Last, but not least, the Hon. President, Hon. Chair and Committee would like to give very special thanks to all the wonderful drivers and their helpers. We really could not make these outings happen without you and we know the children would also want us to give special thanks to you on their behalf, as they had a memorable day which they will all cherish for a long time. We were pleased to have many new drivers join us for the first time and we look forward to seeing you all again in 2013 when we will be celebrating our 85th anniversary.