And it means so much to Avril Stone, 69, that she has recreated the moment for her husband, Eric
And it means so much to Avril Stone, 69, that she has recreated the magic moment for her husband, Eric, the driver in the original, who is terminally ill with motor neurone disease.
She tracked down the centrepiece – a 1934 Austin taxi once owned by her parents – after the chance discovery of its logbook from when it was bought by her mother and father Ethel and Alf Barthram when they ran the New Inn, now the Muddiford Inn, in Barnstaple, North Devon.
She discovered the car, nicknamed Thumbelina, has been lovingly restored by Doug Cheshire who bought it in 2004 and rents it out for weddings in Uxbridge, west London.
Eric Stone, pictured at the wheel in the original
Memories were shared from nights out with the cab, especially stag nights where seven or eight men dressed in morning suits, with bowler hats and everything
Mrs Stone rang revealing her husband’s desire to see it again but adding that he was too ill to make the journey.
Doug offered instead to bring it to her in Devon. She said: “He completely knocked me for six. For once I was lost for words.”
About 200 people turned up for the event last weekend with some members of the original group recreating the photo.
Children or grandchildren took the place of those who had since died. John Bartham and Dave Wallis, the two boys sitting in the back of the car in the original, are now too big to fit inside so stood beside it. Eric was there too in his wheelchair.
Mr Stone in his wheelchair in the reunion photo with John Bartham and Dave Wallis stood beside him
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Avril’s father bought the vehicle for £27 in 1962 and then passed it to Eric’s best friend Derek Beames, who was stationed at nearby RAF Chivenor, so servicemen could come to the inn in it for a pint.
Family friend and former Daily Express photographer Derek Coates set up the original photo.
The family lost track of the car after it broke down, forcing Derek to abandon it.
Derek’s widow Jan stumbled across the old logbook while clearing out his belongings.
Avril said of seeing the taxi again: “Memories were shared from nights out with the cab, especially stag nights where seven or eight men dressed in morning suits, with bowler hats and everything. There were so many memories.”