This afternoon, whilst sitting with Mum for a few hours, I idly flicked through the television channels to find anything to watch except sport and came across a black and white film dating from 1963 entitled Carry On Cabby. Released in 1963 this was apparently the seventh in the series of Carry On films. This took my mind back over forty years to when I worked at the Jane Hodge Holiday Home for disabled children and reminded me of a past era when I saw this film on very many occasions.
The Variety Club of Great Britain had a travelling cinema, it visited us once a month, the operator would arrive in his Morris 1000 Traveller emblazoned with Variety Club of Great Britain down each side and would set up his projector and screen and show the youngsters the film he had on hire for that month. On many occasions the current hired film was not suitable for our audience so he always carried a couple of stand-by reels and Carry On Cabby was one of these, I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve seen it but still enjoyed watching it again this afternoon.
The Variety Club were also well known for providing “Sunshine Coaches” to worthy causes and the Jane Hodge Holiday Home was no exception. Smaller than the usual coaches or minibuses supplied by the charity, ours was a diminutive BMC J4 12-seater minibus and new to us in 1972 with the registration number HUY 2 K. Its small body and 1600cc engine made it quite a lively vehicle to drive and I enjoyed the experience being one of the regular operators spending many happy hours on trips with the youngsters.
By a strange coincidence, I have started to look through my extensive negative archive and have been scanning much previously unseen material and yesterday came across a photograph showing our minibus. Taken in June 1974 at a local gymkhana at Maendy near Cowbridge, the vehicle was already two years old. Unfortunately it’s not a very clear view as a member of our staff was standing in the way in this picture which also shows a number of our resident youngsters enjoying a ride in a horse-drawn carriage. This was probably one of the shortest journeys ever undertaken with children on board in that minibus, this location being only half a mile or so away from the Holiday Home.