Top ranking for a caring cabbie

John Osborne
John Osborne

A CARING cabbie who gives up his Christmas Day to transport people to visit relatives in hospital for free has won a national award.

Hartlepool driver John Osborne beat off competition from 359 other contestants to win Swinton Taxi Division’s Cabbie of the Year 2012.

The 44-year-old, who was nominated for the award by eldest daughter Rebecca, 20, today spoke of his delight at winning the title.

For the past four years, John has given up Christmas Day with his partner Christine Younger, 41, and their four children, Rebecca, Chelsea, 18, Joe, 15, and 10-year-old Sam, to take people to visit their relatives in hospital free of charge.

He has taken residents to the University Hospital of Hartlepool, University Hospital of North Tees, in Stockton, and James Cook University Hospital, in Middlesbrough, in recent years.

Ex-Coventry City footballer Dave Bennett presented John with his trophy, a cheque for £1,000 and a year’s free taxi insurance.

Self-employed John, who has been a taxi driver for 18 years and lives in the Stockton Road area of town, said: “I can’t believe it. I was shocked when my daughter first told me she had nominated me, so to be crowned the winner is amazing.

“It was nice just to be recognised within the competition.

“To win it has just been a dream come true.

“Hopefully my work will encourage other taxi drivers to want to help others too.”

The competition is run by Swinton and Alex Cooke, of the group’s taxi division, said: “When we saw John’s nomination we knew he was exactly what we were looking for in our Cabbie of the Year.

“He is the sort of person we all aspire to be. He is kind-hearted, charitable and prepared to do anything do help others.”