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London cabbies take sick kids on magical tour to Disneyland

PUBLISHED: 08:00 02 October 2009 | UPDATED: 14:58 05 October 2010

HUNDREDS of kids are setting off from East London early in the morning for a magical taxi tour' to Paris. The 170 children with serious illnesses are being taken in a three-mile convoy of 100 London taxis which set off from Canary Wharf for Disneyland Paris at 8am

By Mike Brooke

HUNDREDS of kids are setting off from East London early in the morning for a 'magical taxi tour' to Paris.

The 170 children with serious illnesses are being taken in a three-mile convoy of 100 London taxis which set off from Canary Wharf for Disneyland Paris at 8am.

Around 3,200 youngsters have enjoyed the annual Children's Magical Taxi Tour since it began in 1994, organised by the City of London's Worshipful Company of Hackney Carriage Drivers.

The drivers volunteer their time to pick up their young charges and their carers from their homes or hospitals and take them to Canary Wharf for a big breakfast send off, then on to Paris.

"The smiles on the children's faces every year make all the hard work and effort worthwhile, said organiser Phil Davis.

"It doesn't just make the children smile. Our drivers, support staff, ambulance drivers and paramedics, together with everyone involved in making the tour a success, smile too."

The Lord Mayoress of the City of London, Lin Luder, is cutting a ribbon to mark the start of the trip.

The convoy is expected to stretch three miles as it heads off towards Dover and the Channel crossing.

Mayor of London Boris Johnson said: "The cabbies who give up their time and earnings to take part in this annual armada are London's unsung heroes.

"Thanks to them, thousands of children have enjoyed a wonderful break. I doff my cap to everyone involved with this incredible event.''

The Children's Magical Taxi Tour is paid for by sponsorship, but the drivers give their time and taxis without charge.

Travelling with them are City and Metropolitan police escorts, a contingency of French cops from the Gendarmarie Nationale, a small fleet of London ambulances and an AA team in case of mechanical breakdown en route.

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