Celebrities hail Sheffield cabs

Mercury Taxis driver Syd Bhatti with Jeccica Ennis
Mercury Taxis driver Syd Bhatti with Jeccica Ennis

They’ve been picking up ordinary Sheffield folk for years – and quite a few celebrities too.

This year Sheffield firm Mercury Taxis celebrates 25 years of ferrying passengers all around the city.

And you might be surprised how many celebrities they have transported over that time.

Andrew Eales, who owns Mercury with his wife Lorraine, recalls 1988 when the firm was just him and his trusty Lada car.

His first celebrity passenger was the pop star Yazz.

Andrew said: “It was rather exciting and nerve-wracking when I found out who I was taking to the airport, but she was really down to earth and just sang the whole journey. Put it this way, I knew all the lyrics to The Only Way Is Up by the time I dropped her off!”

Passengers have also included pop stars One Direction and Rebecca Ferguson, and snooker players John Parrott, Jimmy White, Ronnie O’Sullivan and Stephen Hendry.

Dermot Griffiths, general manager of the company, said: “It surprises a lot of people that, just like regular Sheffield folk, celebrities also use our taxis.

“The drivers love it! They are always commenting on how lovely the individuals are despite their status and the drivers are often a little cheeky and ask for a quick photo.”

Peter Holmes, Mercury’s business development manager, added: “We made sure our very own Sheffield samba superstar Michael Vaughan got to his dance practice on time during his autumn run on BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing, and have recently done Sheffield’s second edition of Come Dine with Me.

“Seeing the contestants scoring the meals in our black cabs is something of a surreal experience for our drivers! Prisoners’ Wives series two has been filmed in and around Sheffield, and also chose Mercury Taxis to ensure all shoots went ahead as scheduled.”

And taxi driver Syd Bhatti certainly has his own favourite passenger – Sheffield’s Olympic gold medal winning heptathlete superstar, Jessica Ennis.

Syd said: “She is a really lovely woman, a truly down- to-earth person who definitely hasn’t forgotten her Sheffield roots.

“She even agreed to donate a signed jersey for our auction in aid of charity, which was absolutely fantastic.”