On Tuesday 6th December 2011 the London Taxidrivers’ Charity for Children were invited for the second year running to take eight very deserving children to Clarence House to help the Fund’s Patron, HRH The Duchess of Cornwall, decorate the Christmas Tree. Also invited were the Helen and Douglas House Hospice in Oxford who also took eight children along.
At 1pm the Committee arrived at the Jack Taylor School for pupils with severe learning difficulties in Swiss Cottage to collect their eight excited little passengers and promptly set about decorating their taxis with tinsel, balloons and fairy lights. The school, which was named after our late great Hon. Chairman Jack Taylor, will be closing in July 2012, when the pupils and staff will be joining the new Swiss Cottage School which is currently being built. In keeping with the Christmas theme, one taxi was brilliantly converted for the day to ‘Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer’ by new committee member Steven Bell and his wife Wendy and what a great job they did. The eight excited children and their carers came out at 2.30pm and the colourful convoy then set off led by our special ‘Reindeer’ taxi. The convoy parked in the Mall before going to Clarence House and gave onlookers a special treat, with many tourists taking photographs and waving to the children en route.
The sixteen children were met by an emotional Duchess in the Morning Room where they were each handed a decoration to put on the tree, helped by HRH’s Equerry, Captain Charles Fraser-Sampson of the Welsh Guards, who was dressed in his traditional scarlet tunic and he very kindly let the children try on his bear skin and even helped them to place their decorations on the tree with his sword, as they gasped in amazement.
HRH then hosted a tea for everyone, with the excited children feasting on mini sandwiches, cupcakes, chocolate stars, crisps, biscuits and juice. Before tea the Hon. President of the LTFUC, Bill Tyzack, BEM, introduced each committee member separately to Her Royal Highness and the fund’s Hon. Chair, Susan Angel, thanked her for inviting us. Before leaving HRH handed each child a goody bag filled with sweets and Christmas gifts and then especially came outside to inspect the fund’s ‘Reindeer’ taxi which greatly amused her.
The children and everyone present had a very exciting and memorable day and the Hon. President, Hon. Chair and Committee thank HRH The Duchess of Cornwall most sincerely for the kind invitation and for giving the children a day they will always remember.