The Children’s Magical Taxi Tour Charity Guided Walks

You may know that in addition to being a qualified Taxi Guide I am also a City of Westminster Guide and this July I will be leading  a pair of charity guided walks. The theme and purpose of these walking tours is not only to entertain you, but to raise funds for The Children’s Magical Taxi Tour to Disneyland Paris. This year, this wonderful event will take place for the 22nd year running.

This most worthy of causes is now an annual event that sees approximately one hundred London taxis take sick children from London on the trip of their lifetime to see the wonders of Disneyland. Many of these children are suffering from terminal diseases such as cancer and other such terrible afflictions.

London taxi drivers (via The Worshipful Company of Hackney Carriage Drivers) organise many different charitable events each year like trips for veteran soldiers and other groups deemed in need of a bit of help.

A very hard working and dedicated group of London’s licensed taxi drivers, toil all throughout the year in order to make this happen. A large amount of money has to be raised to fund the trip, which last year cost in the order of £1400 per cab. These sums are raised by means of sponsorships and events held over the course of the year, in order to put very sick but very happy children in a cab and onto the ferry across the Channel to France.

The organisation of the trip is an enormous, but well perfected operation. The one hundred taxis are accompanied by support crews, which include ambulances, medical staff, The AA, technicians from taxi manufacturer London Taxi International, and at least fifteen Police officers from the City of London Police and the French Gendarmerie. All these people give up their time to assist on the trip.

Leaving London, the convoy has to be seen to be believed. On the Motorways it’s over three miles long. The snakelike procession makes its way inexorably through Kent on its way to Dover, only to be swallowed whole by a P&O ferry, before being disgorged into France.

On the French Autoroutes the convoy is escorted through the Toll Plazas and rolls on without delay as the City of London Police motorbikes hold up traffic under the authority of the Gendarmerie to allow unhindered progress. Of course the Police have no official authority in France, but they are respected just the same, often lying to motorists with “deux minutes s’il vous plaît”, knowing it’s more likely to take “dix minutes” to pass.

Along the way the children are met with cheering well-wishers, all waving them on and on arrival Disney characters line the streets to greet them. Throughout the stay, the children are entertained by the Disney characters and the kids’ faces tell their own story.

On the Saturday the children have the run of Disneyland, special arrangements having been made to avoid the long queues, so that the kids can get on as many rides as possible.

Even the anti-climax of the trip home is the whole logistical miracle in reverse as fuel and comfort stops are made with the precision not far short of a formula one team.

I will be leading two guided walks and all money raised from these walks will be donated to The Magical Taxi Tour charity (registered charity 1026395).

Walks with qualified Westminster Guides normally cost around £10 each.  As this is all about raising money for this most worthwhile of causes we would very much appreciate it, on behalf of the children, if you could donate a minimum of £8 per person.

Saturday 4th July 2pm to 4pm – The Reluctant Banqueteers and a Head on a Stick Charity Guided Walk – a guided walk around Victoria (more details on the link)

Saturday 25th July 2pm to 4pm – Sharks Teeth, Peter Pan and More of Secret Bayswater Charity Guided Walk  – a guided walk around Bayswater (more details on the link)

This is a unique opportunity not only to donate to a very worthy cause but also to be entertained for a couple of hours in two of the most famous but contrasting areas of London.

Ray Coggin is both a qualified Taxi Guide and a qualified City of Westminster Guide and leads both walking tours and taxi tours (both highlights tours and themed tours) around Central London and further afield. Details of his taxi tours can be found here.

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