TAXI group Veezu, is celebrating after raising £50,000 for the NSPCC and honouring the memory of a former colleague.

The group, which operates under four brands including V Cars in Chippenham and Swindon, ran a series of fundraising initiatives, including bake sales, raffles and fancy-dress days, to raise funds over the course of 13 months.

Veezu also pledged to make a cash donation for every passenger journey booked with each of its taxi companies, via its ‘three-tap’ mobile app.

The fundraising campaign, known as The Big Drive to stop child cruelty, was launched by Veezu’s former CEO, Joel Hope-Bell, who passed away in 2018 after a short battle with cancer. Mr Hope-Bell was a long-term supporter of the NSPCC and was instrumental in creating the group-wide charity partnership in November 2017.

The £50,000 raised will go directly to the NSPCC’s Childline initiative, which uses trained volunteers to provide support and protection to children at risk of neglect and abuse. Yesterday, February 28, members of Veezu’s senior management team met with Esther Rantzen, founder and trustee of Childline, for a formal presentation on a visit to south Wales.

Kevin Thomas, group corporate development director at Veezu Group, said:

“Today is a very emotional day for everyone at Veezu - to be able to hand over a cheque for £50,000 to such a good cause and one that was so close to the heart of our former colleague. Joel would have been so proud of this achievement and the fact that we’ve been able to do this is a very special part of his legacy.

“There have been a number of factors that have put Veezu in a position to make this donation - the enthusiasm of our staff for the cause, our customers’ loyalty and the success of the mobile app across the UK. App bookings have increased by 21 per cent from 2017 to 2018 and this is one of the reasons we’ve been able to provide this valuable support to Childline.”

Childline Founder, Dame Esther Rantzen, said: “I am extremely grateful to Veezu for this wonderful donation which will enable Childline to transform the lives of desperate children who have nowhere else to turn. On their behalf, thank you so much for making a huge difference to our work.”