The stigma around working well into old age is slowly crumbling away and rightly so. Rising life expectancy, better healthcare and a socially liberal approach to vocational choice has allowed many people to pursue their talents well past the dreaded retirement period of old. One particular example the team at Tudor Driving School were delighted to see comes in the form of Laura Thomas from Pembroke Dock, West Wales. Having just turned 95, 2015 marks her 76th year as a professional driving teacher.
76 years – let that sink in for a moment. This marvellous woman has been instructing students to road worthy success through the governance of sixteen different prime-ministers, a world war and raising two children. The pathetic sexism that often greets female drivers is water off a ducks back for Laura who is said to have never experienced a driving accident in her 77 years behind the wheel.
So, does she intend on continuing her much loved status as the UK’s oldest driving instructor? Absolutely – in fact, Laura fully intends on joining the ‘100 Club’ which refers to people who continue to drive after reaching the centurion milestone. Teaching people to drive demands a patient demeanour and keen perception of immediate threats – safe to say, it’s not something the easily distracted need attempt. For Laura Thomas, it looks like she’ll be around as long as people need to be taught:- “As long as I feel like I can do it, and they want me I will (teach)”.
Considering how long she has been teaching locals, it’s perhaps unsurprising that Laura believes she has taught nearly all the qualified drivers in her hometown of Pembroke Dock with no student failing to pass after more than two tests.
Old school indeed – Tudor Driving School can only hope our teaching maintains its prowess and charm into such a ripe old age!