One-legged 91-year-old celebrates 72 years of driving

August 12, 2010 | by | 2 Comments

A proud 91-year-old great-grandfather was celebrating after driving for 72 years without a single accident – despite having one LEG.

Careful Frederick McCaffery passed his driving test first time at the age of 19 in 1938 driving a work colleague’s Austin 6 van, after just 20 lessons.

Since then he has had no trouble on the roads despite losing having his gangrenous right leg amputated in March 1998.

Great-grandfather-of-one Frederick has only had one blemish on his licence – a £5 speeding fine he picked up in 1959, for doing 30.7mph in a 30mph zone.

Former heavy goods factory inspector Frederick, from Welwyn Garden City, Herts., said his driving motto was ”give and take”.

He said: ”I have never had a single accident despite doing quite a bit of driving in my time, I think you just have to be careful on the roads and be considerate.

”The most valuable piece of advice is to make sure people look right, I found it very difficult but I never stopped doing it because that’s how accidents are caused.

”Drivers are too inconsiderate these days, they go too fast and don’t look out for other cars on the roads, they just basic courtesy.

”Maybe they should take driving lessons back to when I learned, I used to get hit with a stick every time I did something wrong and I think that has made me a good driver.”

Frederick worked in Tottenham as a factory worker delivering boxes to the local area when he was taught to drive each evening by a work colleague.

When the Second World War began, Frederick fought with the Middlesex Princess of Wales’ Royal Regiment, driving trucks and instructing other soldiers how to operate vehicles.

He saw combat in France, Italy and Sicily before returning home after the war in 1946, when he was employed by then state-owned British Road Service.

Frederick and wife Iris, who died in 2007 at the age of 79 and did not drive, moved to Welwyn Garden City with their three children, Sue, Steven and Andrew in 1960.

In 1979, Frederick bought his first car, a red Ford Classic and went on to buy an Austin 1800, Cavalier 2000 and a Fiat.

He was given a Nissan Sunny as a birthday present by his children in 1996 and had it fully adapted following his leg amputation at Queen Elizabeth hospital in Welwyn Garden City in March 1998.

The Nissan was modified to have the clutch, brake and accelerator on the steering wheel but ten years later Frederick fell into a cabinet at home, injuring his right hand.

Frederick kept driving for another two years, but the injury meant his hand suffered a loss of grip and painful arthritis.

In July this year, he handed in his modern photo ID licence, which was ”hugely different” to the 2 x 4 inch red book that cost him five shillings in 1938.

Daughter Sue, 58, also from Welwyn Garden City, said it was the right time for her father to hang up his driving gloves in after staying safe for so long.

She said: ”He’s a gentleman on the road. I always felt safe being driven by Dad.”

Category: News

Comments (2)

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  1. Fredericks wifes name was OLIVE not iris.

  2. Susan Mitchell says:

    fredericks wife was called olive not iris.

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