Saturday, 20 April 2024
Saturday, 20 April 2024

London taxi drivers take veterans to the Netherlands

Every year, the anniversary of Operation Market Garden, which took place between the 17 and 27 September 1944, is commemorated with a series of events in the Arnhem area. The Taxi Charity took veterans Don Turrell, Mervyn Kersh, Les Hammond, Tom Schaffer and John Pinkerton to the Netherlands for a long weekend to remember those who didn’t return.

Cab drivers Dean Euesden, Colin Mills, Paul Cook and Peter Carey took a group of veterans to a memorial service in the Bear Pit located near the John Frost Bridge in Arnhem. They then attended a reception hosted by the British Ambassador to the Netherlands Joanna Roper CMG at the Hartenstein Museum, attended Ginkel Heath to watch the spectacle of hundreds of paratroopers dropping onto the landing zone that was used in 1944 and visited a very realistic re-enactment of a field hospital. 

The group attended a memorial service at the Arnhem Oosterbeek cemetery, more commonly known as the Airborne Cemetery, where those killed in the Battle of Arnhem are buried. At this moving service, local school children placed a flower on each headstone and then, after the service, queued to shake hands with the veterans and thank them for their freedom. The trip was rounded off with a meal in the Schoonoord restaurant, which during the Battle of Arnhem, was equipped as an emergency field hospital by the 1st Airborne Division.

Dean Euesden, London cab driver and volunteer for the Taxi Charity, said:

“We had an excellent weekend in the Netherlands. The hospitality we received was top-class, the weather was amazing, the events were very moving, and the warmth our veterans received was unbelievable. There were many highlights over the weekend, but I think seeing Tom and John’s faces when they were asked if they wanted to fly over Ginkel Heath in a Dakota and seeing the children who had just laid flowers in the cemetery flock to thank the veterans for their freedom are memories I’ll never forget. I’m very lucky to be part of this charity and meet such a wide range of amazing people.”

Frans Ammerlaan, Taxi Charity Ambassador and Treasurer of the Market Garden Foundation said:

“For many years, the Market Garden Foundation has been organising the Dutch side of Taxi Charity trips to the Netherlands, and a warm bond of friendship has been built with locals, host families and authorities. The veterans are always shown enormous love by the Dutch people who also now understand and greatly appreciate the role the cab drivers play in bringing the veterans over.”

To find out more about the support the Taxi Charity offers to veterans or to donate  visit www.taxicharity.org

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