Mike Gower, The Big Coach Company; Bernie Buxton MBE, Liverpool Taxi Drivers; John Duffy, Debbie Bennett Funeral Home; Paul Azzopardi, Liverpool Taxi Drivers

Disadvantaged children and families, including 40 Ukraine refugees, were treated to a day out in Southport this week. 

It was the eighth annual visit to the park by the Liverpool taxi drivers’ charity.

Charity founder, Bernie Buxton MBE and drivers were joined by charity chair Paul Azzopardi and donors and supporters including funeral director John Duffy of Debbie Bennet Funeral Home, Prescott – the company donated drivers’ time and limousines to transport some of the families – long-standing private donor Evelyne Woodall from Wigan and Mike Gower of The Big Coach Company, owned by William Langcake, with the company donating two coaches and drivers for the day.

Mr Buxton offered thanks to Pleasureland CEO Norman Wallis for his continued support. 

He said: “Norman couldn’t have been kinder. He has put everything into this park and has done everything to accommodate the families we bring – opening the park to them and including lots of extras to make the day special for them. The children absolutely love it, especially the children from the Ukraine.”

The Liverpool Taxi Drivers Children In Care Outing Fund trip started with the cavalcade of vehicles receiving its traditional Merseyside Police motorcycle escort and a send off including goody bags for the children from Merseyside Police Chief Constable Serena Kennedy and well wishes from Liverpool’s Lord Mayor. 

While at Southport Pleasureland, charity chair Paul Azzopardi said: “The park is incredible, the support is absolutely superb. Other sponsors and donors here today have given up time and turned down work to support the trip, and they’ve refused to take a penny for fuel or anything else. The charity was set up in 1985, we’re lucky to have such brilliant supporters.”

The charity’s outings are arranged for children and families flagged by Social Services or spotted by taxi drivers themselves as they carry out school runs for families receiving assistance. Since it was set up, almost 40 years ago, it has even delivered two trips to Disneyland Paris.

Park CEO Mr Wallis said: “Southport Pleasureland hosts the taxi drivers’ outing annually and is proud to support such a fantastic organisation. This year we welcomed 30 vehicles onsite and saw 300 people spend the whole day at the park enjoying themselves. Bernie and his charity do an incredible job and the families were absolutely loving their day. It doesn’t get better than that.”

Do you have a story for Stand Up For Southport? Please message Andrew Brown via Facebook here or email me at: mediaandrewbrown@gmail.com

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