A COLOURFUL procession of balloon-covered taxis and floats took to the streets as big-hearted cabbies laid on their annual day trip for children.
The 67th Edinburgh Taxi Trade Children’s Outing saw disabled and sick children driven from Murrayfield through the city and along the East Lothian coast.
Children – and drivers – dressed up for the occasion, and were joined by 93-year-old army veteran and Royal Mile fundraiser extraordinaire Tom Gilzean and Justice Secretary Kenny MacAskill.
Keith Bell, secretary of the Edinburgh Taxi Trade Children’s Outing committee, said the drivers always went the extra mile to make sure the annual trip was filled with fun.
He said: “The outing started in 1947 just after the Second World War, when rationing was still in force. In those days children with disabilities were shunned, hidden away and not talked about.
“The drivers decided to organise a day out for all the children with special needs and 67 years later we are still taking children with disabilities or terminal illnesses out for a fun day at the beach.”
Mr Gilzean – who was left housebound last month after yobs vandalised his motorised wheelchair – was given VIP treatment in the shape of a chauffeur-driven Rolls Royce.
Mr Bell said: “When we heard about the damage done to his wheelchair we wanted to help buy him a new one, but as he is a veteran, PoppyScotland wanted to pay.
“So we invited him to be a guest and there was an extra surprise when he arrived at Meadowbank – his own personal chauffeur-driven Rolls Royce waiting to pick him up.
“We’re sure the Royal Mile can do without him for one day and I bet lots of people will be very pleased to see him getting some recognition.”
Mr MacAskill praised Edinburgh taxi drivers for the ongoing efforts, adding: “The black cab taxi trade do a fantastic job.
“Their commitment to ensuring these well deserving kids have a brilliant time is to be commended.”