THE HITCH AWARD
The Hitch Award for Bravery is named after Private Fredrick Hitch, of 'B' Company. 24th Regiment of Foot, South Wales Borderers. Hitch was a Rifleman, awarded the Victoria Cross during the Zulu War for Valour after the battle of Rorkes Drift, Natal Province, in South Africa. Hitch later went on to become a London Licensed Hackney Carriage Driver.This the most prestigious award and is only given to those few drivers who have shown outstanding courage above and beyond that expected from their normal duties of driving a 'Cab'.
HITCH AWARD 2015
Awarded at the liverymen’s Dinner in November 2015, Natalie O’Reilly is the first woman to receive the WCHCD Hitch award for bravery.
In July 2015 London Cabdriver Natalie O'Reilly finished work early and offered her daughter Rosie, who works in the City, a lift home in the taxi. Whilst driving through St John Street in Clerkenwell Natalie became aware of a young man who seemed to be desperately running along the pavement in the opposite direction being pursued by another young man. The young men then ran into a group of people standing at a bus stop and Natalie’s daughter Rosie became aware that there was a stabbing taking place and called for her Mum to pull over so she could call the Police. However Natalie didn't pull over but did a U-Turned and pulled up at the incident shouting at the assailant to stop.
When he didn't respond Natalie got out of her taxi and bravely confronted the knife welding individual, who after considerable hesitation decided to run off. There was no assistance forthcoming from those standing at the bus stop. Meanwhile when the victim, who had blood pouring from his head and torso, became aware that Rosie was communicating with the Police and became very agitated and demanding "No Police" be involved. They managed to bluff him by saying that they were actually calling an Ambulance. However, as he was bleeding so badly from his wounds they decided to put him in the taxi and take him directly to St Bartholomew’s Hospital. On arrival he was put on an emergency transfer to the Royal London Hospital. Natalie, who also had her cab impounded by the Police for two days because of the blood evidence, was never informed what happened to both youths after that. But it goes without saying that because of the actions of these brave girls that young man is alive today.
LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD
This award is giving each year to the individual who the Company feels has made a valued contribution over many years, to greatly enhance the reputation of London’s Licensed taxi trade.
Alf Townsend has been a cabbie for 50 years and is well known within the trade not only for his longevity but for the prolific number of books he has written about his life as a licensed taxi driver, his time in the Military and as a Londoner in general. A highlight of his career was in 1979 when he won the Taxi Driver of the Year Competition - this opened up to him another world of media opportunities which he actively embraced and Alf did many public speaking engagements enjoying reflecting on his life and times within the cab trade.
His talent for writing was not only limited to books. Since the mid 60's he has been writing regular columns for various trade magazines and newspapers. This stems from his early involvement with the licensed Taxi Drivers Association when he produced a column for their magazine "Taxi" and hasn't stopped contributing to trade newspapers since and still writes a regular column in the TAXI magazine today.
FRIEND OF THE CAB TRADE AWARD
In this case the award is given to people outside the Trade, who in various ways promote the Licensed Trade.
If you would like to make a nomination to the Awards Committee for consideration, please click here