A CARING cabbie is once again offering to give up his Christmas Day by driving people to visit loved ones in hospital for free.
Generous taxi driver John Osborne has been providing the free festive fares for the last six years.
In the spirit of Christmas, he is offering to pick up people from anywhere in town and drive them to the University Hospital of North Tees in Stockton and James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough.
He will also drive passengers to Hartlepool hospital free of charge.
Self-employed John, 46, said: “I think this will be my sixth year.
“I do it because not everybody drives and with most people being treated in North Tees now getting a taxi there and back can be a dear business especially on Christmas Day.
If people do need it then I am here.”
With no buses running on Christmas Day his generous offer could save families a £60 return fare.
It means potentially missing out on time on the big day with his family of partner Christine Younger, and their four children, Rebecca, 23, Chelsea, 21, Joe, 18, and 13-year-old Sam.
But John, who has been a taxi driver for 20 years, said: “We have our dinner and my partner visits her mam and I do this.
“Last year I took three families to North Tees so I was pretty busy.”
John’s selfless efforts saw him beat off competition from 359 other contestants, to be crowned Swinton Taxi Division’s Cabbie of the Year in 2012.
But John, of the Stockton Road area of town, says that he does not do it for recognition.
He added: “I don’t think it’s right that people from Hartlepool have to travel through to Stockton all the time.
“I do it just to try and help those people who would otherwise find it difficult to get to visit their relatives in hospital on Christmas Day.”
People can contact John on 07821 338212.