A grieving girl collects money for a bench near the town’s taxi rank in memory of her father “the best taxi driver in Witney”.
Donald Johns lost a four-year battle with cancer on Tuesday, October 12.
Her daughter, Verity Luckett, has received over 200 messages praising her father for what he has done for the community.
Donald started working at Angie’s Taxi’s in 1985, although he has worked for different companies over the years.
Verity said, “But one thing they all had in common was that everyone loved Donald.”
She added: “Four years and 10 months ago Donald heard the terrible news that he was suffering from advanced cancer. Doctors gave him 12 to 18 months, but Donald ignored it, he swore he was going to fight this terrible disease to the end… and he did… in fact, Donald was amazing and a real inspiration to everyone around him.
“After spending five days at Katharine House Hospice where the staff couldn’t do enough for Donald, he passed away very peacefully and with dignity knowing he was loved by all of you.”
During his 38 years as a taxi driver in Witney, Donald was well known for enjoying a cup of coffee and patting his pipe on the sidewalk at the taxi rank.
“People would look for Don’s Taxi at the cab stand and not travel in someone else because they respected and trusted Donald so much,” said Verity, who lives in Ducklington. “People said they would wave other taxis while they waited for Donald to pull over.
“Donald was more than a taxi driver, not only was he so familiar with the roads in our county, he was also trustworthy.
“He would take the time to help everyone he could, you would find him cutting someone’s grass or not only bringing someone home after shopping, but also take the groceries and put them away … ”
Comments on some of the letters Verity received include: “A memory of Donald that I knew a few years ago… if it was raining and snowing he was the cab number to call and always came with a smile, a true gentleman and always had cans of cola in the trunk, sleep well and thank you Donald. ”
And in a letter from a client / friend: “He took me on a 20 mile chase in a ‘Follow that cab! Oxford to Freeland scenario, so I can try to rekindle a relationship with my then girlfriend. He didn’t want to let me pay because he could see that I was drained. Thank you, Don, for being a legend in more than one way! PS. I forgot her. ”
Other customers wrote: “I loved that every once in a while you would take Carol with you to pick me up because you both loved my dogs so much. I even took one in the cab with me.
“I have so many fond memories of you, you would have offered to take care of my two sons just so I could walk around the store without having to get the stroller out of the cab. The boys loved that you Make them laugh so much, you would even play hide and seek with them, I remember their little faces laughing so much.
“On the way back, we were pulling up at the local store because I would say I forgot something but really, I wanted to buy you a paper and a packet of cookies just to thank you for just being you.”
West Oxfordshire District Council has confirmed plans for a bench are being finalized and expected to be installed in six to eight weeks.
Verity said: “If there is any money left from my appeal, I would like to donate it to Katherine House Hospice who looked after Dad in his last days.”