Friday, July 11, 2008

Woman passes driving test after 27 years and 450 lessons

A 62-year-old woman has finally passed her driving test - 27 years after her first lesson.

Teresa Clarke, of Wroxham, Norfolk, UK, spent 15,000 pound in fees, had 450 hours of tuition from 20 instructors and failed 12 previous tests and cancelled a further 35 and had 50 mock exams.

She had her first lesson in 1981 shortly before American president Ronald Reagan was shot and Prince Charles married Lady Diana Spencer.

However, Clarke was lucky for the 13th time, thanks to the help of her stepson, who runs a driving school, she finally was allowed to ditch her L-plates last month.

"It took a long time for it to sink in when I was told I had passed. I was so happy I kissed the woman instructor," the Telegraph quoted her, as saying.

Clarke, a former shop assistant who is 5ft tall and has to sit on a cushion to reach the steering wheel, has admitted that she was a hopeless learner because she found it very difficult to concentrate for long period of time.

She was such a disaster that many instructors refused to carry on teaching her after a few lessons - either too scared or too frustrated to continue.

However, then Richard Minkler, her stepson from her first marriage, stepped in and offered her his best instructor.

She was given 56 hours instruction in a two week intensive course and told to give up coffee and tea to aid her concentration.

"I was little upset after I failed my first couple of tests - but I never really got disheartened," she said.

"I was very persistent and I always knew I would pass one day. Now my dream has come true and I am just delighted.

"I used to fail my tests on all sorts of different things although my main problem was my lack of concentration.

"I used to have at least three cups of strong Italian coffee every day and when I stopped it really improved my driving by helping me to concentrate."

"My previous one three years ago ended up refusing to teach me anymore after I failed my test with him.

"He just said, 'I am awfully sorry, but you are no good. You will never pass'. His comments upset me and I am delighted to have proved him wrong," she added.