YOUNG DRIVER WELCOMES ITS OLDEST EVER PUPIL - AGED 98
He'll turn 100 next year, but that doesn't stop Don Mitchell dreaming of getting back behind the wheel. Don, a resident of Beverley Parklands Care home, was heartbroken to give up his licence at age 94 as a safety precaution. He had been driving for 50 years.
But thanks to the Together We Can initiative at Yorkare Homes, which aims to make the dreams of residents and staff come true, Don is getting back behind the wheel again.
Young Driver is a driving scheme for under 17s. It runs at private venues across the country, offering those who are not legally able to drive experience behind the wheel. The focus is on safety, but delivered in a fun and engaging way. Pupils typically learn to steer, change gear, brake, tackle junctions and roundabouts and even parallel park - and research shows the lessons reduce the accident rate for newly qualified drivers.
However, the scheme has no upper age limit - anyone who wants to get behind the wheel is welcome to book an experience. Although, of the 1.3 million lessons given over the last 14 years, Don will be the eldest pupil to date!
Don attended the scheme's venue at the Defence School of Transport at Leconfield near Beverley, where he drove a Vauxhall Corsa. The cars are dual controlled and a fully qualified instructor is in the passenger seat - not that Donald needed any assistance.
Don commented: “I was delighted to be able to get behind the wheel again, I was heartbroken to give up my licence. My favourite ever car that I drove was a Morris Minor, it was a wonderful car and I could do all of the servicing on it myself. Which meant I eventually sold the car for more than I had purchased it for! I think I still drove quite safely at 94 but there comes a time when it has to be given up. It was great to check I hadn't forgotten all of my driving skills - and, like riding a bike, it all comes back to you. I hadn't realised how much cars have changed since I last owned and drove one. The steering wheel is harder to turn and the gear stick is harder to hold. It was nice to see the youngsters just starting to learn as well. And my advice to them is always stay inside the speed limit! There's an old saying 'Rules are for wise men to follow and fools to break'.”