It’s not often that you see Postman Pat and a mad cow rubbing shoulders with a penguin and a pirate. Then again, the Edinburgh Taxi Trade Children’s Outing only happens once a year.
A 70-strong cab convoy took off from Saughtonhall Car Park in the sunshine today, festooned with balloons or disguised as tanks. The destination: a barbeque at Yellowcraigs and ice cream at Luca’s in Musselburgh.
The annual summer outing is celebrating its 65th anniversary. Every year taxi drivers from Edinburgh escort less able children and those facing illnesses from Murrayfield Stadium to the seaside. Armed with water pistols and sporting their best fancy dress outfits, the children are whisked through the city by cab.
This year’s festivities were kicked off by Edinburgh rugby players Roddy Grant, Ross Rennie and Phil Goodman. The players posed for photos with children before throwing miniature rugby balls into the crowd.
Edinburgh stand-off, Phil Godman said: “It's amazing to think this great event has been running for 65 years. We’re delighted to be here supporting the outing and hope all the kids involved have a great day out.
“The success of the event is a credit to the city’s taxi drivers who have gone to a tremendous effort decorate the taxis with balloons and streamers, and in some cases dress up in fancy dress themselves, to brighten up the kids’ day.”
After the rugby players left to continue their training, organiser Keith Bell took to the stage to MC the awards ceremony. Cab Inspector Frank Smith, MSP Colin Keir and the Lady Provost of East Lothian were on hand to present trophies and rosettes for the best balloon taxi, the best dressed taxi, the best adult fancy dress and the best child fancy dress.
City Cabs taxi driver Rik Weightman, 42, won first place in the best dressed taxi category for his ‘Mad Cow’ taxi. He has been driving a taxi in Edinburgh for five years, and takes part in the outing every year.
He said: “This is my fifth year doing the outing and it’s always fun. The past four years it has rained so this one should be cracking. The kids just have a ball.
“I fancied doing something different with my taxi this year. We had a ladybird last year. I’m over the moon that I won.”
Following the awards presentation, the crowd quickly dispersed into the waiting cabs. The taxis readied to peel off, tooting their horns. Once the Chaplins Disco bus, carrying the organisers and presenters from Real Radio and blasting Status Quo’s ‘Rockin All Over the World’, got into the place, the convoy roared off into the sunshine and on to the beach.