Norfolk’s oldest driver retakes test at 105 on new TV show

Eileen Ash, 105, with her yellow Mini
Eileen is on of 8 people in the UK aged 105 years and still h

Eileen Ash, 105, with her yellow Mini Eileen is on of 8 people in the UK aged 105 years and still holding a driving licence (Picture: ITV) - Credit: Archant

Coming from a family where no one in the household drove a car (deeply annoying, especially if the village they've stuck you in only has one bus an hour and none on Sundays) learning to drive wasn't just useful, it was life-saving.

That said, with no chance to practise after lessons, it took more than one attempt to pass my driving test. Forget GCSEs, A levels, my degree or my professional qualifications as a journalist, passing that test was the most important and useful of them all.

This week, armchair driving instructors have been able to enjoy a programme that gave them carte blanche to shout at the screen about easing up on the clutch or checking the mirror before signalling or manoeuvring - as ITV's 100-Year-Old Driving School continued.

The three-part series began last week and follows on from the 2014 documentary 100 Year Old Drivers, which met some of the elderly people who didn't see why age should be a barrier to getting behind the wheel.

This series meets the older drivers who are willing to take the plunge and sit an assessment overseen by examiners from The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) to find out if they are still roadworthy. In this episode, RoSPA set up shop in a biker cafe in Surrey.

Among those taking the test are 95-year-old John William Quince, who has spent the last 30 years driving in Spain and Norfolk's very own Eileen Ash, who at 105 is one of Britain's oldest drivers and is keen to keep it that way.

After venturing out in her beloved mini, the 'spritely' 105-year-old was told she had passed, with the assessor stating she was a 'privilege' to drive with and he was happy for her to continue driving.

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He said: 'It would be so easy for her to slow down, take her foot off the gas so to speak, but she's not, she's full throttle and still going and I think that's great.'

Eileen was thrilled with the result, though not too surprised, as she proudly proclaimed 'I knew it' at the end of the episode.