Taplow is a Roads Policing/Traffic
Base of Thames Valley Police, from where officers deal with some of
the fatal road collisions that tragically occur in the Thames Valley Police
In 1998 officers at the base held a Christmas raffle and, whilst trying to establish which cause to donate the proceeds to, a couple of officers suggested that perhaps the money could be used to do something for the many children who were bereaved as a result of the fatal collisions they had dealt with. Thus the foundation for the trust was set.
In 1999 initial finances allowed the officers to take a group of children who had lost family in car crashes to Disneyland Paris for a day, travelling by air. In 2000, with an increase in donations, it was possible to arrange for a two night stop-over at the park, but at a low budget hotel and travelling by coach. As it was an overnight trip, surviving parents and guardians were also invited, however, the journey clearly took a lot longer. Consequently, since 2001 sufficient funds have been raised to allow the officers to combine the best of both original trips; the children and their surviving parents and guardians travelling by air and staying two nights in a luxury hotel, managing three full days at the park.
Such was the response by the children and their remaining family that the trust became a registered charity and has now spread across Thames Valley Police, with the two officers and their wives becoming trustees. The charity's first patron was Baroness Flather of Windsor and Maidenhead, soon to be joined by the officers' own chief constable, Mr. Peter Neyroud.
Money for each trip is raised by donations from local businesses and fund-raising events by police staff and friends.
The charity has been described as an exclusive club for special children, although given a choice, those children would have chosen not to join but to have kept their family. On one trip a 2-and-a-1/2-year-old girl who had lost her father was allowed to be accompanied by her grandparents as well as her mother. The grandparents wrote to the officers with words that sum up the aims of the charity:
"Please take this as a very personal huge thank you for arranging the trip to Disneyland Paris. We had a great time and, of course, Disney is the best place to be to leave all the sadness behind and enjoy the magic of the Park. For us as parents and grandparents, it gave us a great deal of pleasure to see them enjoying themselves. You can't take credit for the weather so I'd like to think that someone 'up there' was looking over us. To benefit from the Taplow Traffic Charity Trust you have to be amongst a group of children who we all wish didn't qualify but, as we know, life can be so cruel sometimes. Believe me you do a really worthwhile job, we're glad to have met you and please convey our gratitude to your colleagues and sponsors."
The child's mother added:
"We, as a family, haven't had much to smile about over these past ten months, but there were many occasions in Disneyland Paris when we had a good laugh and forgot about all our problems. If you ever question why you put all the hard work in, just see my daughter's face in the photos."