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Veterans' Coastal Retreat: London Taxi Charity efforts shine


Image credit: Taxi Charity

Over 100 veterans from London and the home counties were treated to a day out in Worthing, thanks to the generous efforts of volunteer cab drivers affiliated with the Taxi Charity for Military Veterans.


The day commenced with refreshments in South Holmwood before a convoy of cabs made its way to the Pavilion Theatre on Worthing Pier. The veterans received a warm welcome on the Marine Parade from Bob Smytherman, the official Town Crier for the Borough of Worthing and Adur, before entering the historic Art Deco theatre.

A classic fish and chip lunch awaited the guests, followed by an engaging talk from Matt Hellyer, Chief Executive of the charity Pilgrim Bandits. Hellyer, a former SAS Warrant Officer, shared his extensive military experiences, having served in every major conflict over the past three decades and completed over 400 operations.


Taxi Charity Chairman Colin Mills expressed his gratitude to the Mayor of Worthing, Cllr Ibsha Choudhury, for providing the venue and arranging parking for the cabs along the seafront.


The event, a cherished tradition since 1948, offered veterans entertainment and the opportunity to dance or sing along before the day concluded with a raffle. The volunteer cab drivers then ensured the veterans returned home safely, with their meters off.

Colin Mills, London Cab Driver and Chairman of the Taxi Charity for Military Veterans, said: “This was my first Worthing outing as Chairman of the Taxi Charity and I am delighted that the team who organised the day did such a fantastic job and everyone I spoke to said they’d had a really good time. On the journey back home via South Holmwood I thanked everyone at the village hall and they were delighted that so many had stopped off at the village hall on their journey home from Worthing and I assured them we will be back next year and the tradition will continue.”

 

Afghanistan veteran Ben Mead said: “Yesterday was a phenomenal day. Being able to enjoy the camaraderie and the banter between veterans and the taxi drivers is truly priceless. It is like being in the military where you don’t see each other for weeks, but suddenly whenever everyone gets together the conversation and the laughs carry on, as if it was only yesterday. As always when leaving to come home, I was full of happiness and had a huge smile on my face, thanks to the Taxi Charity for Military Veterans.”

 

Andy McClaren, who accompanied WWII veteran Norrie Bartlett to Worthing, said: “Typically superb day laid on by the cabbies for our cherished vets. Well organised boy and girls.”

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