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‘Diversity’, ITV’s 2009 ‘Britain’s Got Talent’ winners, were greeted with squeals of delight from 750 ‘special needs’ and underprivileged children when they made a surprise appearance on stage at the London Taxidrivers’ Fund for Underprivileged Children’s annual Mad Hatter’s Tea Party at the Grosvenor House, Park Lane on Sunday 31st January 2010.  The children’s screams when they saw ‘Diversity’ were so loud that even the huge chandeliers in the Great Room were in danger of shattering!!
On arrival the children were given a huge warm welcome and were greeted and hugged by numerous lovable clowns, costume characters and Pearly Queens and Kings.  They were then led down to the Great Room, where they were delighted to find hundreds of mixed glow novelties on offer, all kindly donated by Global Marketing Group and we deeply appreciate their donation.  We are also grateful to the Household Cavalry for their great assistance in carrying the wheelchairs for us. Whilst the children were hastily munching their way through the yummy food, Hon. Chairman David Lessman welcomed them and everyone to the party, with Hon. Secretary Malcolm Shaffron making his usual Health and Safety Speech.  We were privileged to welcome the Worshipful Lord Mayor of Westminster, Councillor Duncan Sandys and he went on stage to say hello holding his two year old son who waved frantically at the crowd and was having a great time.   We also thank Lee Sharp MP and his wife Estelle for joining us and giving up their valuable time.
We would like to take this opportunity to thank Gerry Cooper, who presented Hon. Chairman, David Lessman, on stage with a cheque for £100.  David informed everyone that Gerry Cooper was taken on the fund’s outings as a child and subsequently became a taxi driver himself driving numerous children on many of our outings over the years – what a great story.  We would also like to thank Audrey Sherry for her kind donation of fruit for the party.  Our sincere condolences go to both Gerry and Audrey following their recent bereavements and we were delighted to have them both with us.
International Opera Star Bergit Beer started the afternoon’s entertainment by singing a wonderful rendition of ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow’ and we thank her for joining us.  It was then time for the brilliant Bournemouth Carnival Band to make an entrance and they delighted everyone with their usual tremendous and superb performance, creating a real carnival atmosphere. Their dedication to giving the children a great time is overwhelming and they never fail.  Honorary Chairman, David Lessman was then joined on stage by a member of the Hilton Hotel, Euston, who very kindly presented us with a cheque for £300 which had been raised from an indoor fixed bike ride held last year, in which even our Chairman took part, and we greatly appreciate this donation.  We are also deeply grateful to Pam Mason for the donation of a further cheque for £1000 from EDF Energy, Canning Town, E16 and extend our grateful thanks to them.  Two cast members of The Bill, Jason Barnett (Eddie Olosunje) and Micah Balfour (PC Benjamin Gayle) then made an appearance on stage and we thank them for coming to see us.  It was now the turn of The Destiny All Stars Cheerleaders who, with their pink pom-poms, gave a great performance.
It was at this point that ‘Diversity’ made their surprise appearance and I doubt if the Great Room has ever witnessed such loud screams and mass hysteria before.  They told everyone that they remember their roots and all the support the LTFUC had previously given them before they won 'Britain's Got Talent' and wanted to come back to thank us and all their supporters.  What great guys they are to take time out from their busy schedule to join us and we are deeply grateful to Danni and Jenny for making it happen.  ‘Diversity’ had brought hundreds of posters with them to sign and the children queued tirelessly to get a glimpse of their idols and have photos taken with them.  The Blue & White Rope Skippers were the next act and gave everyone an amazing display of their tremendous talent and skills, with the crowd giving them a rapturous applause.  It was now the turn of two members of the cast of Eastenders, Madeline Dugga, who plays Lauren Branning and Thomas Law who plays Peter Beale to make an appearance and we thank them for signing so many autographs and for joining us.    
The acts and celebrities kept coming and next to enter the Great Room were Gino D’Acampo, King of the Jungle from ‘I’m a Celebrity get me out of Here’ and runner up Kim Woodburn.  They both made their entrance in the Bournemouth Band’s batmobile, escorted by several Batmen and we thank them both for coming.  It was now the turn of Richard and Liam of ‘Faces of Disco’ from ‘Britain’s Got Talent’ to perform and they gave a truly wonderful performance and delighted everyone with their fun and jollity.  Next on stage were boy band Blazin’ Squad, who were also greeted with loud squeals from lots of adoring fans. They gave a great performance and as they had to rush off to perform elsewhere, we think it was wonderful of them to come. Our wonderful Cheeky Girls, Gabriela and Monica, were next to perform and each year their outfits get better!! This was their eighth year of performing at our parties and we are deeply grateful to them for all the support they have given us over the years and adore them both.  As well as singing, they showed us just what talented dancers they are, just great. 
We were then honoured and privileged to have WBA World Heavyweight Boxing Champion, David Haye, join us and after being interviewed on stage, he kindly signed autographs. We really do appreciate him giving up his valuable time to join us, as we know he also had to rush off to another charity event.  Next up on stage from ‘Britain’s Got Talent’ were Charlotte Marie and Keelan, known as the 'Quick Change Dance Illusionists' and what a brilliant act they were, receiving a huge applause.  It was now time for the character parade, which is always one of my favourite moments and this ended with the children rushing on to the dance floor to grab hold of their favourite character for the conga.  The atmosphere was now buzzing and everyone’s efforts to make this a great party were certainly paying off – magic! 
‘Plague’, former Hip Hop International World and UK Street dance Champions, then took to the floor and performed a brilliant routine and looked amazing in their white suits and red shirts and I am sure they won over a lot of new fans.  The lights were then lowered and on came three Daleks, Orion, Elsie and Nimrod to the sounds of ‘Dr Who’ music blaring away in the background.  The Daleks took great delight in squirting water on all the screaming children – brilliant!! Exterminate, exterminate was all that could be heard!  We thank 14 year old Jazz Blaack for singing some songs and then opera star Bergit Beer wound up the great entertainment by aptly singing “Its time to say goodbye”, although this wasn’t strictly true as we still had the final disco to go!! The crowds poured on to the dance floor, the balloons came down and everyone danced their feet off!  At this point I would like to thank compare Dave Davies for doing such a great job in keeping this huge party running so smoothly. There was still one more surprise to come and before leaving, the children were led through the LTFUC’S magnificent toy grotto piled high with brilliant toys.  Here we would like to thank Annette from Jelly Cats, Clare from the Disney Store for the cuddly toys and M & S (Marble Arch) for the puzzles, money boxes and game cards.  Each child left with a large overflowing goody bag and faces with smiles a hundred miles wide. Wow, what a party, what a show!
There are so many people to thank, but special thanks must go to DG Leisure – Chateau Chocolate, who donated the chocolate fountain and we are reliably informed served over 2000 chocolate covered marshmallows at the party.  We also give special thanks to Denise and all the great facepainters, many who travelled from great distances to be with us.  They worked tirelessly all afternoon and we want them to know how grateful we are.  We must also give special thanks to all the team of helpers on the balcony for making hundreds of sandwiches and tirelessly serving refreshments non stop all afternoon.   The Household Cavalry, Army and Police Cadets did a magnificent job in helping us keep the children safe all afternoon by manning the stairs, stage, queues and exits and we thank them for their help.


Although we give coverage to the celebrities and acts, we must never forget all the wonderful people that work hard all afternoon in the Great Room on the surround, ie. all the brilliant clowns, characters, facepainters, magicians, balloonists, the hair colour, tattoo, mask design, girls’ jewellery and hair accessory tables, the portrait artist, the Army and Police tables, the Police bikes and so much more.  How can we thank you enough, many travelling great distances to be with us and not even taking a break?.  We also thank the two workshop leaders from Albert & Friends Instant Circus for joining us and teaching the children their juggling, plate spinning and diabolo skills.  The children just loved the workshop.  
The party just gets bigger and bigger each year and it really is impossible to thank everyone, but special thanks must also go to all our sponsors, donors and helpers and the following  people listed below and we sincerely apologise to anyone we may have omitted :
Grosvenor House Management & Staff, Grosvenor House Event Manager Natalie Daniels, Grosvenor House Technical Manager Ben Behan, Soldiers from the Lifeguards and Blues & Royals, Metropolitan Police Central (Euston) Traffic Garage, Metropolitan Police – West End Central, Sgt. Jack Warner of the City of London Police, Laser Creations, Carol Burwood of ABC Imaging UK, Mark Cohen of Tranceart, Cadburys for their supply of chocolates, Photographic (Mark Cooper & Patrick Jones), Video (Maurice Gilliam), Soho Fire Station, Transport for London, Harrow Cadet Attachment, Pearly Kings & Queens, UK Garrison, London Communications, Capespan, Build-a-Bear, ColourFX, Nando’s Restaurants, Matalan, Snazaroo, Trebor Bassett Ltd, Turner CN Enterprises, Nintendo, E1 Entertainment UK, Next, Butlins, St. John's Ambulance.

Thank You from the Children


The Hon. President, Hon. Chairman and all the committee thank everyone involved in any way for your help, generosity, time, passion, enthusiasm and dedication in helping us to put on this great party and putting so much happiness into these children’s lives.  The children’s smiles were hundred miles wide, which says it all and we know they would want us to say A GREAT BIG THANK YOU on their behalf.  Well done to all the Committee and wives for their hard work and a huge thank you also goes to all the trade press for your coverage of this party and your help and support during the year.
Raymond Levy
(Press Officer)
(Many images taken at the party can be seen in our photo gallery)