3rd August 2015
Meet Laura Thomas, a great-grandmother from Pembroke Dock in West Wales, who at the ripe old age of 95 is Britain’s oldest driving instructor.
After 76 years getting over 1,000 pupils through their driving tests, Laura has no plans to stop any time soon.
Laura’s driving career began in 1938, after her brother bought her a car for Christmas. She passed her test just two months later and started giving tips to her friends on how to pass.
Her reputation quickly spread by word of mouth until she was soon bombarded with requests for driving lessons.
“It just grew and grew from there,” she said.
Despite never advertising her services, Laura has enjoyed a steady stream of customers ever since.
She has never used dual controls and has never had an accident, although she did once have a pupil pull the car's steering wheel off when she asked him to perform an emergency stop.
She claims to have taught nearly “all the drivers” in Pembroke Dock and boasts that none have needed more than two tests.
“I’ve seen big changes in cars and the roads are a lot busier now but the basics of driving haven’t changed,” she explains.
“Some people say motorists shouldn’t be on the road at my age but I don’t think it matters how old you are as long as you still have your head screwed on.”
“I get all sorts, some are quick to learn, some are very stupid.”
“They all enjoy it. Except one or two who would maybe have a little weep.”
“There are so many people learning and wanting lessons that I couldn’t retire.”
“As long as I feel like I can do it, and they want me I will.”
Laura is hoping to reach 100 before hanging up her L-plates and claims that she can still reduce teenagers to tears with her “old school” teaching technique.
“I have had scares but I have had a lot of laughs too and I’ve never failed to stop a car with the handbrake.”
“It’s one big laugh. I’ve enjoyed every moment of it. It’s nice getting to know so many different people.”
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