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TAXI CHARITY: London cabbie to cycle 115 KILOMETRES on WWII gearless bike to commemorate 1944 battle

Updated: Jul 31, 2022

Image credit: Taxi Charity

This September two Taxi Charity volunteers plan to cycle an astonishing 115 KILOMETRES across The Netherlands on WWII gearless bikes and then walk a further 40 kilometres to commemorate the battle fought by the allies during Operation Market Garden in 1944.

Taxi Charity volunteers Chris Willmott and Seb Philp have set themselves an impressive two-day challenge to raise £10,000 for the Taxi Charity for Military Veterans.

Replicating the route taken by the 1st Airbourne Division during Operation Market Garden in 1944, their challenge will begin at 6.00am on Friday 2 September when they will cycle 115 kilometres from Bridge no 9 on the Bocholt-Herentals Canal on the Belgian border to the town of Oosterbeek in The Netherlands via Arnhem. Wanting to make the cycle ride as authentic as possible, Chris and Seb will be riding two gearless WWII Airborne folding bicycles generously loaned by the Airborne Museum at Duxford and The Glider Museum at Wolfheze.

The following day, Saturday 3 September at 6.00am, they will walk 40 kilometres on a route which takes in the key locations of the 1st Airborne Division during Operation Market Garden as part of the ‘Wandletocht’ event, organised by the Municipality of Oosterbeek.

They will walk the 40 kilometre route carrying a 35lb British Army ‘bergen’ rucksack replicating the weight carried as part of the Airborne selection process.

During the two-day challenge, WWII veteran John Jeffries’ ashes will accompany Chris and Seb on their journey. Part of the 1st Airborne Division John landed on Ginkel Heath on 18 September 1944 as part of Operation Market Garden.

Chris Willmott, former member of the Parachute Regiment and Taxi Charity volunteer, said: “I have been volunteering for the Taxi Charity since 2016 and when I recently heard that some funding that they had been promised was not going to be awarded I spoke with Seb, and we decided that we would try to raise the money that the charity had been expecting. We hope that this first challenge will raise £10,000 and that we can do more over the next year to raise a total of £45k to help The Taxi Charity fund future commemoration trips to The Netherlands and Normandy.”

Seb Philp, London Cab Driver, Army Reservist and Taxi Charity volunteer, said: “Chris and I are honoured to be carrying WWII veteran John Jeffries ashes with us during our challenge. John was a much-loved member of the Taxi Charity family, and he always enjoyed the charity commemoration trips to The Netherlands. We are both confident of completing the challenge and really hope that the period bikes do not let us down!”

Since 1948 The Taxi Charity has supported veterans from all conflicts and has helped WWII veterans to return to the former battlefields of Normandy and Arnhem in convoys of iconic London Taxis.

To donate to the ‘Market Garden Challenge’ visit


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