Oldest driver, 105, loses her no-claims bonus (all 71 years



POOTLING along leafy streets on her weekly journey to church, motorist Sheila Thomson was naturally more careful than usual after a recent bump.

But as Britain's oldest driver, she yesterday vowed to keep driving at the age of 105, despite losing her 71-year no claims bonus.

Now that her decades behind the wheel have been revealed, the sprightly widow, who has never passed a driving test and celebrated her birthday last month, has taken the title of the country's oldest driver from Charlie Howarth, of West Yorkshire, who renewed his licence in March, aged 101.

And as she climbed into her blue Peugeot 105, to make the 15-mile round trip she has repeated every Sunday for six decades, Mrs Thomson said the minor accident had not dented her confidence.

"I had a wee bump a few weeks ago," she said. "I had been at church and the street is very narrow there.

"A man was loading things into his car, but was doing it with the door open on the road side and I came along and hit it. It was my fault, but he should have been loading from the other side, and what a trouble out of nothing he made of it. It ruined my no-claims bonus.

"I had never claimed for anything in 70 years of driving and I told the woman from the insurance company so."

Mrs Thomson, a former meals-on-wheels volunteer who retired at the age of 90, is still an active church member and has never missed an annual general meeting since 1945 when she first joined Invergowrie Parish Church in Perthshire.

Every day, she drives from her home in Broughty Ferry, Angus, to the local shops as well as to her regular Women's Guild meetings.

"I have been driving for over 70 years and as long as I have my own car, I am my own person," she said. "I can get in my wee car and go about and do what I want, and that is the way I like it.

"I get my shopping from the shops in Broughty Ferry. It is not very far, but I prefer to drive because my balance is not as good as it used to be. I prefer to drive and park in the same spot outside Marks & Spencer and put my messages in the back."

Born in 1902, she bought her first car, a Galloway saloon, in 1936, around the same time as drivers' licences were introduced in Britain.

"I never passed my test. We didn't have them in those days," she said.

The Rev Robert Ramsay, of Invergowrie Parish Church, where Mrs Thomson has attended for the last 62 years, paid tribute to his most remarkable parishioner.

He said: "Sheila Thomson has been an absolute inspiration to me. The fact that she still drives everywhere is testament to her most amazing stamina and proof that she lives life to its fullest."

A spokeswoman for the DVLA in Swansea said: "She is quite possibly Britain's oldest driver at 105. That is very old and I have certainly never heard of anyone that old who is still driving."

• A driving test - introduced the previous year - cost ten shillings.
• The Ford V8 launched this year, complete with new steel wheels, costing from £257.
• The Highway Code contained just 18 pages of advice compared with 93 in the latest edition.
• There were around 1.5 million cars on the road.
• Inventor Alec Issigonis - designer of the Mini - joined car firm Morris.

• A theory driving test costs £21.50 and a practical test £48.50.
• 32 million people in the UK now hold driving licences and traffic levels are 12 times that of 1936.
• Satellite navigation units for cars are now so popular the government uses their cost in its "basket of goods" to measure inflation.
• The first-time pass rate for the test has fallen to 43 per cent from 63 per cent in 1936.


Book Reviewer
I don't belive she didn't have a protected no claims bonus... Silly woman!


Book Reviewer
If she'd been slightly more sprightly, she could have battered the old cnut loading up on the street side. I'd have battered him if he'd given me any grief.

Poor dear, the next time her eyesight fails and she wipes out a bunch of kids at a zebra crossing, she could wind up paying massive premiums.
To be pedantic she wouldn't have had more than 5 years no claims discount, because that is the insurance industry maximum. But as said above she should have had protected them.
"I have been driving for over 70 years and as long as I have my own car, I am my own person," she said. "I can get in my wee car and go about and do what I want, and that is the way I like it.

Therein lies the problem with driving at that age :D
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