What happened when a 105-year-old Norwich motorist retook her driving test?

PUBLISHED: 16:11 20 September 2017 | UPDATED: 20:00 20 September 2017

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)

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)


When she first started driving back in 1937 the government had just made windscreens compulsory in cars.

Eileen Ash in her yellow Mini at the age of 100. 
Photo by Simon Finlay.Eileen Ash in her yellow Mini at the age of 100. Photo by Simon Finlay.

Fast forward 80 years and 105-year-old Eileen Ash now has to contend with cycle lanes, roadworks and thousands more cars as she drives her yellow Mini through the streets of Norwich.

She is just one of eight people in the country over the age of 105 who has a driving licence and to test her ability to stay on the roads she appeared on an ITV show. 100-Year-Old Driving School followed Eileen as she had her driving assessed on the city’s roads.

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

Ahead of the test, overseen by Simon from The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents, she said: “I love driving and just being free I think.

“Being on four wheels and going where I want to go.

“If I’m told to give up and he has got a very good reason then I should but otherwise I feel quite confident.”

During her assessment Eileen took on some of Norwich’s busiest roads and had an answer for every one of Simon’s queries.

When he questioned her big stopping distance on King Street she replied: “I can’t stand people driving right up to my boot, it is so annoying. And they do it so often.”

And when she was turning right on to a side street on Yarmouth Road she joyfully told Simon: “I love this little bit, hold tight.

“I feel I’m a Brookland’s driver just on that little corner. It’s nice to pretend isn’t it.”

Eileen never had a career as a motor racing driver but throughout her life she held a number of illustrious jobs.

She spent 11 years working for MI6 before playing for the England Ladies cricket team from 1938 to 1949.

Eileen now spends her time doing Yoga and playing bowls.

At the conclusion of her assessment Simon informed Eileen she was safe to continue driving and said it was “an absolute pleasure” to drive with her.

Eileen was pleased with the news but appeared to always have been confident in the result.

“I’m delighted,” she said. “I knew it though. I quite enjoyed it. “I could have gone onto the coast actually, oh it was most enjoyable.

“So you can come again next year and see what I’m like.”

• 100-Year-Old Driving School continues on ITV at 9pm on Tuesday September 26.

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