Freddie was driving test legend

VALERIE Porter recalls Freddie Sharpe who worked at the ABC/Ritz cinema in the Buttermarket.Freddie was often seen in his crimson uniform directing people from queues in the Buttermarket to seats in the cinema when there was a full house.

VALERIE Porter recalls Freddie Sharpe who worked at the ABC/Ritz cinema in the Buttermarket.

Freddie was often seen in his crimson uniform directing people from queues in the Buttermarket to seats in the cinema when there was a full house.

In the 1960s Freddie, who lived in Finchley Road, Ipswich, attracted national attention with his attempts to get a motorcycle driving licence. After 30 failures he enlisted the help of race ace John Surtees. Getting him involved was like asking Lewis Hamilton or Valentino Rossi to help with the same problem today!

John Surtees had 38 wins in motorcycle grand prix racing in the 1950s before changing to formula one cars where he had 24 podium places.

In August 1968, after an hour of instruction from John Surtees on test number 31, Freddie, then 47, passed his test. Freddie said: “John taught me the importance of using my gearbox and looking into my mirror for things coming along behind.”

Earlier on test number 29 when the examiner stepped into the road and raised his hand to signal an emergency stop, Freddie had to swerve and the examiner had to step smartly back on to the pavement!

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Do you remember Freddie and his driving tests?