The London Taxi Charity for Military Veterans has been awarded the prestigious Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service, it has been announced today.
The charity has been supporting veterans since 1948, and the London black cab drivers who volunteer are immensely proud to have been recognised with the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service (QAVS) for providing social events and commemorative trips for veterans to combat loneliness and isolation. The QAVS is the MBE for volunteer groups and is awarded for life.
The Taxi Charity is run by volunteer London cabbies and has supported thousands of veterans of all ages. The charity arranges free trips to the Netherlands, Belgium, and France, for acts of commemoration and days out to museums, concerts, or fundraising events in the UK, to catch up with friends and comrades.
For the last twelve months, pandemic restrictions meant events have had to be cancelled and the charity has worked tirelessly to ensure that veterans received regular contact by sending a greeting card each month, gifts to mark the 75th anniversaries of VE and VJ Day, stockings at Christmas and arranging Guards of Honour at veterans’ funerals.
Volunteers have also helped with regular phone calls, food shopping, transport to hospital appointments, and more recently taking veterans for their coronavirus vaccinations.
Ian Parsons, Chairman of the Taxi Charity, said: "This is a very proud moment for the Taxi Charity and the London black cab trade. The COVID pandemic has been a uniquely challenging period and I’m glad our response provided comfort to our veterans, especially those living alone and feeling isolated. I would like to thank all our volunteers who have worked so hard and whose efforts helped us win this prestigious award."
Dave Hemstead, London cabbie and Taxi Charity volunteer, said: "This is an amazing day for the Taxi Charity and for all the generous London cabbies who give up their time to support this wonderful charity. Volunteering is an absolute pleasure, and we are very lucky to form special lifelong friendships with the veterans the charity supports. It is a real honour to receive this award, but it is also an honour to be able to call so many veterans our friends."
The Queen's Award for Voluntary Service is the highest award given to local volunteer groups across the UK. It was created in 2002 to celebrate the anniversary of the Queen's coronation. It is awarded to outstanding groups of volunteers whose level of initiative and impact are truly exceptional. Each group is assessed on the benefit it brings to the local community and its standing within that community.