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27th June 2013

(Celebrating our 85th Anniversary)


 Anniversary Cake Taxi


Fun, laughter and jollity were the order of the day on Thursday 27th June 2013, when a convoy of 100 decorated taxis took 300 very deserving children on the London Taxidrivers' Fund for Underprivileged Children's legendary outing to Southend-on-Sea.  This year the Fund is proudly celebrating its 85th anniversary and this was the charity's 47th outing to Southend-on-Sea and what a fantastic outing it was !  The taxis assembled very early in the morning at London's Victoria Park and after decorating their taxis and having breakfast, the drivers waited for their special little passengers to arrive. The sun was shining and the atmosphere was just great. On hand to entertain the children were the Furry Tail Folk and Clown Jolly Jack and we are deeply grateful to them for not only coming to Victoria Park, but joining us all day to entertain the children and what a great job they did.  We would also like to give thanks to Colin Hayfield, Upper Warden of the Tin Plate Workers and the Clerk of the Tin Plate Workers, (Alias Wire Workers), and we are deeply grateful to them for giving up their time to meet the children and wave the convoy off. We would also like to thank Alison Denning, Festival and Events Officer for Victoria Park, and the Management and staff who provided the breakfast.


Southend here we come


At 10am the huge 'horn blowing' colourful convoy departed and here the Committee would like to give special thanks to the Essex Police and also the Blue Knights Law Enforcement Motor Cycle Club (England 7 Chapter) for escorting us so quickly and safely to Southend and for doing such an excellent job. We would also like to thank Karen Hill, Green Flag and Brian Bernard, Operations Manager and the drivers from Kavanagh Motor Group who joined the outing at the last minute to help and grateful thanks also go to the Red Cross for accompanying us. Many people lined the streets waving and cheering, with the children smiling and trying very hard to master the art of a 'royal' wave !



Convoy ready to depart


At noon we arrived at a sunny Southend and after the convoy paraded along the sea front enjoying more cheers and waves from a delighted crowd, we arrived at the Cliffs Pavilion for a lovely lunch.  We would like to thank Southend Council, Derek Kenyon and the Parking and Highways Team for the use of the Shorefield Road Car Park and, of course, the Management and staff at the Cliffs Pavilion for all their help and assistance.  Snow White, the White Queen and the Mad Hatter, the Furry Taill Folk, Southend's Salvo the Clown and Clown Jolly Jack, were all on hand to greet the children when they arrived and have photos taken with them, for which we are deeply grateful.  The Fund's Hon. Chair, Susan Angel, gave a speech welcoming everyone and it was now time for the excited children to be ferried down to Adventure Island.  Here we must give grateful thanks to Brian Houssart, MBE, Hon. President of the Southend Taxi Charity Fund for Children, for his support, along with Cooks Coaches for use of one of their coaches and to Bill Hiron, Managing Director, and the drivers of Stephenson Coaches for the use of their vehicles.



Clown Jolly Jack entertains the children


Being that the outing was during a school term week, our children practically took over Adventure Island and were having a fantastic time with none of the usual long queues ! Vouchers for ice creams, donuts and drinks were given to all drivers and children and all I could hear were children screaming with laughter, their faces covered in ice cream and candyfloss ! We would like to take this opportunity to thank the Management and staff at Adventure Island for their help and assistance in making this outing possible.



Having fun at Adventure Island


At 5pm it was back to the Cliffs Pavilion for tea and a disco provided by DJ Dave Davies and we thank him and his crew.  We are deeply grateful to Jackei Walsh and her son Jake for kindly coming at the last minute and for working so tirelessly face painting and balloon modelling, which the children loved.  We were really pleased to welcome the Mayor of Southend, Councillor Brian Kelly and Mayoress Ann Kelly, who were joined by Adam Tregoning, the Mayor's Mace bearer and we are deeply grateful to them for giving up their valuable time to join us.  The Mayor gave a speech and then it was time for the presentations.  The Mayor presented the winner of the 3rd best dressed taxi, with a box of chocolates.  This was Cab No. 61, Kelly Kane.  The 2nd best dressed taxi winner was Cab No. 38, Paul Cresswell and he was presented with the Peter Lucas Shield, a bottle of wine and chocolates for his helper.  The 1st prize for the best dressed taxi went to Cab No. 35, Steve Pulham.  This was the Terry Stapleton Rose Bowl and this prize was presented to Steve by Carole Stapleton, Terry Stapleton's wife.  Terry had been a longstanding member of the LTFUC and unfortunately passed away in 1988.  Steve also received a voucher from Vince White Taxis of Waltham Abbey, with a choice of 150, or a cab service and MOT.  He also received chocolates for his helper and a bottle.  Well done Steve for winning the third year running and for cleverly displaying the brilliant 85th anniversary cake on your cab.  We extend grateful thanks to Vince White Taxis for donating their prize.



Best Decorated Taxi Winner


The last prize was a general draw for all the drivers.  One of the children, Lucy, came on stage and pulled out the winning number, which was Cab No. 40, Stewart Murray and he won an overnight stay with breakfast for two at the Connaught Hotel in Mayfair and we extend our grateful thanks to the Hotel for donating this prize.  With the formal presentations over, the disco commenced and whilst the children 'strutted their stuff' on the floor, the weary drivers were happy to sit back, rest and have tea! All good things must come to an end and at 6pm the children were led out of the room in a giant conga.  Before leaving, all the drivers and children were given an 85th Anniversary Mug from the Fund as a gift, together with a stick of rock which had been kindly donated by Southend's Councillor Paul Van Looy, for which we are deeply grateful.  We thank Costco of Chingford for donating the bottles of water.


Children loaded with goodies


Special thanks go to the anonymous donor for donating 25 to each driver for their fuel. We also thank all the wonderful Sponsors, whose donations helped to make this outing possible and also thank Radiocoms Systems Ltd for the loan of their communication equipment.

As it is our 85th anniversary year, we are especially grateful to ITV who featured our outing on their London and Anglia evening news (see links below) and to all the radio stations who gave us great coverage.







Last, but definitely not least, the Hon. President, Hon. Chair and Committee would like to give very special thanks to all the wonderful drivers and 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. The children had a brilliant and magical day, which they will always fondly remember and the continuous smiles, laughter and happiness on their faces throughout the day was a joy to behold.  The Committee deserve congratulations and a pat on the back for what one driver described as a "most professional and slick outing" - Roll on next year !!



Thank you from all the children


Many images taken on the day can be seen in our Photo Gallery.


"None Walks so Tall as He who Stoops to Help a Child"


Raymond Levy

(Press Officer)