In 1952 Mr Charles Albert Flemwell started the first East London Cabbies Outing with 8 taxis, taking children with special needs from the East End of London travelling to the riverside town of Maldon in Essex. The trip proved to be such a success that over the years it grew to a much larger scale, taking children from various schools and specialist centres within the East End of London in a convoy of vehicles that in some years exceeded 160 taxis and specialised buses. The children’s needs ran from severely disabled and Down’s Syndrome to Autistic and severe learning difficulties.

In 1984 Mr Charles Albert Flemwell became Mayor of the London Borough of Newham. He still carried on organising the famous taxi trip to Maldon until, sadly, he passed away in 1996.

Mr Ken Flemwell, Charlie Flemwell’s son, who is also an East London taxi driver, wanted to maintain the famous taxi trip that his father had started in 1952. He formed a committee of London taxi drivers and carried on organising the annual taxi trip in his father’s honour.

This year, 2012, will be the 60th year of the outing and it is still as successful as ever.

The children are collected from various pick-up points around London and we (? Drivers and helpers) attend to their every need during the event before taking them back home at the end of the day.

The children are given meals, entertainment, spending money, toys and goodie bags.

All the taxi drivers who take part give up their day’s work on the road to voluntarily take the children on this trip. Every taxi driver dresses his or her taxi with balloons and some even have giant kid’s cartoon characters tied to the roof.

It really is a fantastic sight to see all these taxis dressed up and driving along in convoy.

The London Ambulance Service stays with us throughout our journey to Maldon and all through the day’s events, because of some of the children’s serious medical conditions. We are also provided with 10 Metropolitan and Essex motorcycle police, who escort us from beginning to end. They stop the traffic on the way, allowing us to go through red traffic lights and over roundabouts so that we can stay together in convoy. T & J’s breakdown service also stays with us to provide breakdown cover all day.                                                    

Plan of the day.
The journey begins with about 60 taxis leaving from East Ham in London at 9.30 am. We have meeting points on the journey for the rest of the taxis to join us in the convoy. By the time we reach Romford, all the taxis are together in convoy, with the children and their parents/carers on board.

We reach the George and Dragon pub in Mountnessing, Essex at around 11 am. This pub provides an hour’s rest period. This is for the children to go to the toilet or have special medical attention, as many of them need it at regular intervals. During this period the children and carers are provided with free drinks and snacks, which they collect from tables lined up outside the pub.

We leave the pub at 12 pm, in convoy, with the police escorting us on our journey to Maldon.

We reach Plume Secondary School in Maldon at 1 pm. The Mayor of Maldon and all the school’s pupils line the street outside, to greet us as we enter the playgrounds to park up.

This school provides all the children, carers and taxi drivers with a two-course meal and the pupils also lay on their own music bands to provide the children with entertainment.

We leave Plume School at 2.30 pm making our way to Maldon’s Promenade Park. The journey takes us through Maldon town centre and all the shop fronts are dressed with balloons and banners to greet us.

The streets are lined with hundreds of people waving us on our way to the park. The town has always celebrated our special visit and this makes the children feel extremely special.

We arrive at Maldon’s Promenade Park at 3 pm, where volunteer stewards guide us through the gate to park up on the field.

We stay on the field until 6.30 pm. During this time we have lots of entertainment going on. This includes face painting, model balloons, clowns, juggling show, magic show, falcon bird show, horse riding, horse and cart rides, fire engine, raffles and the Best Dressed Taxi award. We also have a DJ on the field so that the children can have a little boogie.

The event finishes at 6.30 pm and the police escort us back to London. The taxis all take the children back to their homes.

I am sure you will agree with us that this event is a fantastic day, makes the children feel very special and gives them a day to remember!

It would be much appreciated if you could make a donation of any kind which would help to make this event a success. On behalf of all the children and the East London Cabbies Outing Charity, we look forward to hearing from you.

ELCO Charity

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