Not for Profit

Published: October 22, 2021 | Updated: October 22, 2021

Taxi charity challenge goes the extra mile by raising incredible £100,000 for Variety Wessex

The London cab, covered in the logos of BC Club members, which has raised £100,000 for Variety Wessex. Picture: Hattie Miles.
By Andrew Diprose, editor

A group of fundraising businessmen raised an amazing £100,000 – nearly seven times the original target – after driving a charity taxi around the BCP conurbation and beyond.

The BC Club has now presented a cheque for the amount to Variety Wessex.

Frances Cornelius, Chair, said she was “truly speechless” when told about the sum raised.

The taxi idea was born after Shan Seewooruthun, BC Club Chairman, sold his car.

Club committee member Paul Meyer bought him the £1,500 LTI TX II hackney carriage as a joke.

At the time Covid-19 restrictions prevented the club from meeting up, so Shan set a challenge for members.

Each week a different BC Club member would drive the taxi and use it as their only form of transport.

They would pay £250 for the privilege and be ‘fined’ if discovered using any other mode of transport.

In addition they had to cover at least 150 miles and also make at least one ‘modification’ to the taxi.

During their week with the cab it was hoped each member would raise additional money in any imaginative way they could come up with.

BC Club originally aimed to raise £15,000 but, despite all the Covid restrictions and complications of past months, the 40 members raised a remarkable £100,000.

Emblazoned with the logos of members’ businesses, the taxi became a common sight across the conurbation and further afield.

At the first club meeting since December 2019, pictured, Frances, of Variety Wessex – the local branch of Variety The Children’s Charity – was invited to see the taxi first-hand and also receive the cheque from Shan.

The BC Club has supported Variety for the past six years and has raised in excess of £600,000 for charity since it was founded in 2011.

Shan said: “It has been amazing to see the efforts each of the club members have gone to, to support Frances and the Variety Club.

“One member drove as far as London and Birmingham to collect donations and take photos with their supporters.

“The taxi has really lifted all of our spirits during Covid and we have all enjoyed the weekly updates on its progress around the conurbation and further afield.

“The taxi modifications have also become somewhat comical with the introduction of everything from a Dukes of Hazzard horn, disco lights, a loudhailer, underbody lights and illuminated signs to an electric meter and a full toilet and cistern in the front passenger seat.”

Francis said: “I was truly speechless when Shan told me the amount ‘The Boys’ had raised.

“They obviously had a lot of fun during their weeks driving the taxicab and enjoyed outdoing each other with the imaginative ways they raised money as well as the quirky modifications they all did on the vehicle – the most hilarious was the full toilet system in the front passenger seat!

“We love ’The Boys’ for what they have enabled Variety Wessex to achieve in supporting the many thousands of poorly and extremely underprivileged children and youngsters in our area, particularly through the very uncertain times of the past couple of years.

“It has brought smiles and joy to them all.

“So many of these children suffer from depression due to illness and their challenging backgrounds.

“It is great that the BC Club enables us to finance essential equipment they need as well as days out and parties that they would otherwise miss out on.

“Thank you Shan, and the BC Club, for everything you do to enable us to help these children.”