A NATIONAL charity is set to be given a festive boost courtesy of a caring cabbie.
Hartlepool taxi driver John Osborne gave up his fourth Christmas Day in a row in order to make sure people in need of transport got to see their sick relatives in hospital.
Ahead of the big day, John volunteered to take town residents through to hospitals in Hartlepool, Middlesbrough and Stockton free of charge.
To celebrate his generosity, some of his regular customers from the Nursery Inn pub, off Hart Lane, raised £120 for him to give to a charity of his choice.
John will donate the money to the Help for Heroes charity, formed to help those serving men and women wounded in conflict.
On Christmas Day itself the only job John received was to take a family up to the Royal Victoria Infirmary, in Newcastle, at 2pm.
John’s generosity saved the family a £140 return fee.
Self-employed John, 43, who waited in Newcastle for an hour before bringing the family back, said: “I received a phone call from one family to say their son had been taken to North Tees and then transferred to the RVI, in Newcastle, and wondered if I would be willing to go there.
“I said it wouldn’t be a problem and I had a car full of people.
“They were really grateful for the help and it meant they could see the lad and save them some money.
“I was happy to help.”
John added that he is also willing to offer his services free of charge next year.
The dad-of-four is willing to take residents to James Cook University Hospital, in Middlesbrough, the University Hospital of North Tees, in Stockton, and also the University Hospital of Hartlepool, in Holdforth Road.
The Stockton Road resident was first inspired to offer the free taxi ride after his son Joe, who was 12 at the time, broke his arm in 2008 and he was taken to the Stockton hospital.
The youngster was kept in hospital and the daily commutes back and forth to hospital inspired the idea of providing free Christmas Day travel.
John lives with partner Christine Younger, 41, and their four children, Rebecca, 20, Chelsea, 18, Joe, 15, and 10-year-old Sam.