A group of charity-minded Bournemouth businessmen has raised an astonishing £100,000 for Variety, while enjoying a bit of lighthearted fun, by taking to the road with a London black cab.
The BC club, which started in 2011, saw members regularly getting together for lunch whilst also doing their bit for charity. When Covid-19 restrictions prevented the club from meeting up, chairman Shan Seewooruthun decided to create a challenge using the taxi, which had been purchased by committee member Paul Meyer. Shan's brief was simple: club members would take it in turns to drive the vehicle each week, using it as their only form of transport. They would each pay £250 for the privilege and would be ‘fined’ if discovered using any other mode of transport. In addition, they had to cover at least 150 miles and were expected to make at least one ‘modification’ to the taxi. Each member was also encouraged to find imaginative ways to raise additional money.
The BC Club originally aimed to raise £15,000 but, since March this year, the 40 members have exceeded all expectations by raising the remarkable sum of £100,000 for Variety.
Attending the first club meeting held since December 2019, Frances Cornelius, chair of Variety Wessex, was invited to see the taxi firsthand and to be presented with a cheque.
Shan Seewooruthun, chairman of the BC Club, said: “It has been amazing to see the efforts each of the club members has gone to to support Frances and Variety. One member drove as far as London and Birmingham to collect donations and to take photos with their supporters. The taxi has really lifted all of our spirits during the Covid pandemic, 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 Duke’s 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.”
Frances Cornelius, chair of Variety Wessex, said: “I was truly speechless when Shan told me the amount ‘The Boys’ had raised. They obviously each had a lot of fun during their week of driving the taxicab and enjoyed outdoing each other with the imaginative ways they raised money as well as the quirky modifications they all made to the vehicle. The most hilarious one 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 sick, disabled 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, and it is great that your 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.”
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.