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 5th JULY 2011
Convoy on the road to Southend
A small part of the LTFUC taxi convoy going to Southend-on-Sea
If you were passing London's Victoria Park on the warm and sunny morning of Tuesday 5th July 2011 and saw six large Furry Tail Dogs, Peppa Pig, three Clowns and Miss Ballooniverse running round the park, you were not hallucinating! They were all there to entertain 300 'special needs' and disadvantaged children being taken on the LTFUC's annual outing to Southend-on-Sea and we thank them all most sincerely for coming, some travelling great distances to be with us.  We give extra special thanks to Blanco the Clown, Misiz, Clown Jolly Jack and the two Furry Tail Folk, Rob and Tom who, as well as coming to the park, also came with us all the way to Southend to make sure the children were kept entertained all day and what a great job they all did, though we nearly left Rob and Tom behind on the return journey, but that's another story!! 
Peppa Pig waves the children off
Also at Victoria Park to greet the children and wave the huge convoy of taxis off was the Alderman & Sheriff of the City of London, Fiona Woolf, CBE and Councillor Mizan Chaudhury, Office of the Chair of Council of Tower Hamlets and we thank them for giving up their valuable time to be with us.  We thank the staff and management at Victoria Park for providing breakfast for the drivers and helpers and at 10am the huge convoy set off, with the usual crowds waving and lining the route to give us a loud cheer.  Here we congratulate and thank the City of London Police, who carried out an excellent job getting us safely to our destination and back and we deeply appreciate their continued help and support.  The Police escort riders were: PS 51 Bill Holder, PC 881 Taylor, PC 760 Scarr, PC 607 Wilsmore, PC 346 Shead and PC 378 Massey and in the Rear Car, Jack Warner and Steve Adams.  We are also deeply grateful to the RAC and St. John's Ambulance for joining the convoy and for all the excellent help and support they give us every year.  
At mid-day we arrived safely at a hot and sunny Southend and had a wonderful greeting from all the sunbathers on the sea front, many leaving the beach to come up and give us a supportive wave.  The convoy finally arrived at the Cliffs Pavilion and we thank the management and staff for their help and co-operation.  After lunch was quickly demolished, the children, drivers and helpers were then ferried down to Adventure Island in three mini buses and, once again, we extend grateful thanks to Brian Houssart, MBE, Hon. President of the Southend Taxi Charity Fund for Children, and his friends from AC Taxis, for providing these buses for our use.
We thank the management and staff at Adventure Island for all their help and assistance and the children had a brilliant time demolishing ice creams, donuts, rocks and candyfloss in between the rides, just great!!  At 5pm it was back to the Cliffs Pavilion for tea, followed by a brilliant disco provided by DJ Dave Davies, who always does such a great job.  The LTFUC's Hon. Chair, Susan Angel, gave a speech on stage welcoming everyone and gave special thanks to the Mayor of Southend, Councillor David Norman, for sparing the time to be with us and he in turn gave a speech welcoming everyone to Southend.
Prizes were presented by Susan and the Mayor of Southend to the winner of the best decorated taxi (the Army camouflage taxi) which was cab no. 40, Steve Pulham and helper Kay Molineux and he received the Terry Stapleton Memorial Rose Bowl, with a large bottle of Champagne and Chocolates for Kay.  Runner up was cab no. 23 (LTFUC Logo taxi), Steven Bell and his wife Wendy, and he received the Peter Lucas Shield, with a small bottle of Chardonnay and Chocolates for Wendy.  The free raffle draw then took place and H. Hussein, cab no. 70, won an overnight stay for two in a deluxe room at the Connaught Hotel in Mayfair, including a full breakfast (hope he takes the wife)!  The runner up for this prize was cab no. 38, Jacqueline Gray and she won a small selection of comedy DVD's.
The Southend Carnival Court had very kindly come to greet the children at the Cliffs Pavilion and we are deeply grateful to Alan and Sheila Jones for bringing them along and extend our grateful thanks to the girls for coming.  We also thank Salvo the Clown and Balloonist Tony Hanscombe for joining us and the three face painters, Jackie, Donna and Brook for working tirelessly and creating some amazing faces which the children were proudly showing off!
Another treat was in store for the children.  Students from The Sandra Singer Stage School had very kindly come along to perform a great Cheerleader routine for the children, with pink pom-poms flying everywhere which the children loved, but the icing on the cake was still to come.  It was announced that there was a very special cheerleader among the students, namely Maisie Smith, who plays Tiffany in 'Eastenders' and the ecstatic children let out loud screams when she came on stage.  As if this was not enough, Bobby Lockwood, who plays Mick in Sky TV's Nickelodeon programme the 'House of Anubis', joined Maisie on stage and the screams got even louder when he appeared.  Maisie and Bobby very kindly agreed to sign autographs and it was brilliant watching the children having so much fun and holding on tightly to their autographs with such happiness on their faces.  We are deeply grateful to Sandra Singer for making this all happen and thank all the cheerleaders and Maisie and Bobby for coming.
At 6.15pm the disco ended and on leaving, every driver was given a Taxi Mug which had been kindly donated by Marks & Spencer, Marble Arch, for which we are extremely grateful.  Each mug contained a LTFUC key ring, LTFUC tax disc holder and 20 which had been anonymously donated by one of our sponsors to cover the drivers' fuel, for which we give our deepest thanks.
The Hon. President, Hon. Chair and Committee thank all the wonderful drivers who came, many of whom were new drivers and we really hope to see you all again on our future outings.  Great to have so many new lady drivers on board as well to keep the men in check!!  We also extend grateful thanks to all the carers, helpers, sponsors, Radiocoms Systems Ltd, E1 Entertainment, the Connaught Hotel, Mayfair and anyone connected in any way with making this day such a special treat for the children, as without you the outing would not be possible and apologise if we have omitted anyone in error.


 Little hands reaching out to touch Maisie and Bobby
It was a brilliant outing, the sun shone all day and the children had a most wonderful time.  Incredibly the rain started coming down just as we were leaving, so it was a wet journey home, but another great Southend outing and one which I am sure the children will remember and talk about for a very long time.
Raymond Levy
(Press Officer)
(Many images taken on the day can now be seen in our Photo Gallery)