Taxi Charity for Military Veterans: Special moments over the years from annual veterans trip to Worthing with London black cab drivers

London cab drivers have been bringing Chelsea Pensioners and other veterans to Worthing for an annual day trip since 1948. It was originally known as London Taxi Benevolent Association for the War Disabled but has since been renamed Taxi Charity for Military Veterans, a winner of the Queen's Award for Voluntary Service.

By Elaine Hammond
Thursday, 23rd June 2022, 1:22 pm
Updated Thursday, 23rd June 2022, 1:35 pm

The splendid sight of the cabs arriving in convoy each summer attracts many a wave and the faces of the veterans brings joy to your heart. It is wonderful that Worthing was the chosen destination and over the years, there have been some pretty special moments.

The Duchess of Gloucester chose to spend part of her 60th birthday with the veterans in Worthing in June 2006 and part of the celebration was a rendition of Happy Birthday on the mighty Worthing Wurlitzer. She arrived at Worthing Railway Station by train and travelled down to the Assembly Hall on foot. Other guests that year included the Pearly King and Queen of Harrow.

The Duchess was introduced to veteran Henry Allingham, who was 110 at the time and went on to become the longest-lived man yet recorded from the UK, passing away aged 113 on July 19, 2009.

In June 2009, Gurkha champion Joanna Lumley and forces sweetheart Dame Vera Lynn, a patron of the association, joined the veterans at Worthing Assembly Hall. Speaking on the steps just moments before she released doves, Joanna said: “It has been absolutely thrilling to come down to Worthing by train then travel in a black cab to the event. This is such an important day. The work the taxi drivers association does is incomparable. Being here in Worthing is the perfect day. To be part of this is one of the most unforgettable days on my life.”

The special guests officially unveiled a painting in Worthing Town Hall by Rosa Branson to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the founding of the association by taxi driver Harry Joel. He came out of the Royal Navy after the war and decided he wanted to help other veterans who were less fortunate than himself.Mr Joel and five other drivers raised £120 to take a small group of veterans down to Brighton for the day but it seemed Brighton was not the place for them, so a week later, they were brought down to Worthing and such was the success of the trip, they have been coming here ever since. To the taxi drivers, it is the outing of the year.

Also in the news:

Page 1 of 4