Hazel takes to the road after 65 years

IT WHEELIE is one 'L' of an achievement.

Tom Potter

IT WHEELIE is one 'L' of an achievement.

An Ipswich woman has passed her driving test - at the age of 65!

Hazel Harvey, of Montgomery Road, learned to drive in just 14 months, taking one lesson a week.

She had tried to learn on two previous occasions but her efforts were cut short.

Mrs Harvey, a grandmother-of-two and mother-of-two who has worked at Ipswich Hospital for 21 years, said: “I did it when the children were small but it proved to be too expensive so I had to stop. I started again in 1989 but I lost my mum and didn't keep it up.

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“Last year my husband Malcolm started having funny turns which turned out to be a form of epilepsy and it meant he couldn't drive for a year.”

Mrs Harvey decided to take her first lesson for 18 years in April last year. Determined not to let anything get in her way, she clocked up 60 hors of lessons in an attempt to pass.

According to the Driving Standards Agency, younger candidates outperform their seniors in passing the test. In 2004-6, the pass rate for 17-year-old boys was 51per cent and for girls 48pc.

Pupils ten years older at 27 had pass rates of 43pc and 36pc respectively. At 47 the rates went down further to 35pc and 25pc.

The DSA says a pupil needs two hours driving tuition for every year of their life.

Mrs Harvey, who is training to be a ward clerk at the hospital but has previously worked in the sterilisation and disinfectancy unit, passed her exam in less than half that time and she puts her success down to good tutorage.

She said: “I had a very good instructor. I didn't feel confident going into the exam so I told no-one about it but I think that helped me pass.

“When the examiner said I had passed I just burst out crying.”

Mrs Harvey could have started driving as early as 1960. In the time it has taken for her to get her licence there have been ten US presidents and nine British prime ministers.

Today she thanked Robert Kenny from Elite Driving School - the instructor who guided her through the process and without whom she says she would have quit many times.

What do you think? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk

Did you know?

In July this year 62-year-old Teresa Clarke, of Wroxham, Norfolk, finally passed her driving test - 27 years after her first lesson.

She had spent £15,000 in fees, had 450 hours of tuition from 20 instructors and failed 12 previous tests.

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