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Driver John Hemmons keeps on the right track

John Hemmons, who has had 70 years of trouble-free driving.
John Hemmons, who has had 70 years of trouble-free driving.

by Gerry Warren


In more than 70 years of driving, John Hemmons has never had an accident or been convicted of a motoring offence.

He took and passed his advanced driving test four times - the first time in a Ford Zephyr in 1960 and the last in 2007 when he was 83 years old, making him one of the oldest certificate holders in the country.

Now, at the age of 87, he has reluctantly decided to hang up his car keys because he fears his reflexes are not what they used to be.

But his remarkable driving record has not gone unnoticed at the Institute of Advanced Motorists.

Last week its Head of Road Safety, Kevin Delaney visited him in Canterbury to present him with a framed certificate in recognition of his 50 years membership and clean driving record.

John, who lives with his wife, Joyce at St John’s Hospital, Northgate, said: “With age creeping up on me and as a responsible member of the IAM, I just thought the time was right to stop and have sold our car.”

He added: “But I have always loved driving and first got behind the wheel of my uncle’s tractor when I was about five years old.

“I’ve had so many cars over the years I have lost count of them. But driving now is not the pleasure it was then when the roads where so much quieter.”

During the war, John drove a fire engine in the Blitz. But he was an electronics engineer by profession and worked for GEC in its research labs helping to develop radar.

He said: “Although I have given up the car, I haven’t entirely quit driving because I’ve bought a mobility buggy to get about the city on. But it only does 8mph so I don’t think I’ll be getting a speeding ticket.”

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