When it comes to keeping fit 96-year-old Melton man Harold Veazey certainly has plenty of drive - but the sprightly grandad had to put on the brakes when he was filmed for the recently screened ITV documentary 100 Year Old Drivers Ride Again.
Harold, who was last year named Leicestershire’s oldest athlete, was first to feature in the programme which got behind the wheel with some of Britain’s oldest drivers to find out why and how they still hit the roads.
Harold, who works out at the Waterfield Leisure Centre three times a week and is a long-serving member of St Mary’s Church and the Royal British Legion, is filmed as he narrowly misses hitting an articulated lorry as he comes out of the junction of Mill Street and Burton Street.
He says on the programme: “That was close. I never spotted the lorry. It makes you realise you can’t afford to make a mistake. I feel stupid.”
Speaking to the Melton Times after the programme Harold, who can been seen in the episode driving his Suzuki hatchback around the town and in Scalford, said: “I thought the lorry driver had waved me to go on but when I got closer I realised he hadn’t. I told the driver I was very sorry.
“I still enjoy driving and I drive everyday, including going to the swimming baths and to the country park where I park up before going on a walk. My brain is still active and I will still be driving when I’m 100, there’s no two ways about that.”
Harold, who turns 97 in September and who has recently renewed his licence, said he’d been congratulated by his granddaughters for appearing on the programme, which was screened last Wednesday (July 15), as well as shoppers in Morrisons who had seen him on TV - although he felt ‘a bit embarrassed’ by the attention.
Harold, of Elgin Drive, learned to drive in the 1930s, delivering meat for the village butcher. He says: “I prefer driving today to what I did in my day because the cars are more comfortable. I mean today you’ve got sat navs and you’ve got heaters. What did we have in those days? If you wanted a heater you took a hot water bottle.”
Only one of the pensioners shown in the episode was an actual centurion but, as the programme explained, there are 80,000 UK drivers over the age of 90 and there are thought to be 230 over the age of 100.
At the moment motorists over 70 must renew their licence every three years, but they do not have to take a driving or medical exam.
You can still watch the episode of 100 Year Old Drivers Ride Again on ITV Player. You can register for free to watch. Visit https://www.itv.com/itvplayer/100-year-old-drivers/series-2/episode-1-100-year-old-drivers-ride-again
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