Veterans gather at the Biggin Hill Heritage Hangar

RECENTLY the Taxi Charity for Military Veterans escorted a group of veterans to the Biggin Hill Heritage Hangar.

Among the group of veterans attending the event at the Biggin Hill Heritage Hangar were thirteen who had served in the Second World War – and one was to get the surprise of her life.

Just before 11am, Colin Mills, chairman of the Taxi Charity for Military Veterans, welcomed the veterans to the hangar and thanked the team at Biggin Hill for inviting the charity to their hangar, which houses thirteen Spitfires. To the surprise of 99-year-old veteran Dorothea Barron, who trained troops in the use of semaphores ahead of D-Day, she was told that charity ambassador Johnny Gallagher would make her dream come true.

Veterans gather at the Biggin Hill Heritage HangarVeterans gather at the Biggin Hill Heritage Hangar

Dorothea will be celebrating her 100th birthday later this year and Johnny had asked what she would like as a gift for this milestone. Without hesitation, Dorothea had told him that she would like to fly a Spitfire. Without Dorothea having any idea of ​​the plans, the Spitfire flight was booked for later that day.

Unfortunately, just as the plans for the Normandy invasion were thwarted by the weather, so too were the plans for Dorothea’s flight. Low cloud, combined with a strong wind, meant the plane could not take off, but Dorothea was given a briefing, suited up in a flying suit and sat in a Spitfire as it taxied along the runway. Just as D-Day would be moved to June 6, Dorothea’s flight will also be moved.

During the social event, veterans who were driven to Biggin Hill by volunteer London taxi drivers enjoyed a light lunch and heard poet John Armstrong, commissioned by Taxi Charity Ambassador Johnny Gallagher, read his new poem ‘Spitfire’.

Colin Mills, chairman of the Taxi Charity for Military Veterans, said:

“Everyone had a great day. The kind invitation from the Biggin Hill Heritage Hangar gave thirty veterans who had served in World War II and other conflicts, including Korea and Afghanistan, the opportunity to meet just before the 1980s.e anniversary of D-Day and catching up. Social and commemorative events are at the heart of everything the Taxi Charity for Military Veterans has done over the last 76 years and as a taxi driver who has been volunteering for the charity for five years, I know how much our volunteer drivers truly appreciate what an honor it is is to spend time with these veterans.”

The Taxi Charity takes a group of veterans to Normandy for the 1980se anniversary of D-Day.

To find out more about the Taxi Charity’s support for veterans or to donate, visit: www.taxicharity.org.