Sheffield pensioner Marjorie has driving licence renewed at ripe old age of 96

Sheffield Woman of Steel Marjorie Neal is gearing up to be behind the wheel aged 100 after her driving licence was renewed.

Thursday, 25th February 2016, 9:28 am
Updated Thursday, 25th February 2016, 9:30 am
Ninety Seven year old driver, Marjorie Neal from Stannington who's had her licence renewed until her 100th birthday Pix : Dean Atkins /

Marjorie said she was ‘over the moon’ when she got the letter from the DVLA, just a couple of months short of her 97th birthday.

The Stannington resident often gets behind the wheel of her Nissan Micra for a trip to the shops as she cannot manage hills walking any more but says she is fit enough to carry on driving.

“I have no plans to stop,” she said. “I think everyone knows when they should stop. If I had an accident or I thought I wasn’t capable then I would stop, because it’s not fair.”

Marjorie, one of Sheffield’s Women of Steel who wired Lancaster bombers during the Second World War, began driving in 1968 when her first husband William Phillips was in Nether Edge Hospital.

She would usually get the bus, leaving her husband’s Austin van at home.

“The van was on the drive doing nothing so I thought I should learn how to drive,” she said.

“I was able to get to the hospital in no time.”

Marjorie never looked back – a succession of cars began when she moved from the Austin to a Hillman.

“I saw that in the Hatfields showroom. It was when cars with metallic paint came out. I thought I had to have it.

“After a few weeks the paint started flaking, so I got rid of it.”

Marjorie also drove a Triumph Toledo, a Mini and a Ford Fiesta before settling on the Nissan Micra.

“The Nissan is the best little car I have ever had,” she said. “I’m just hoping it will last for the rest of my life, and I think that it will.”

In September she called her car insurance provider ‘ageist’ after her premium shot up to £700. In 2014 she paid £412 for insurance for 12 months but last year RIAS asked for £700 – a 69 per cent increase.

Marjorie likes to keep as active as possible, both physically and mentally.

She is very artistic and practises découpage, pergamano, bead work and more. Some of her pieces are on the walls of her home.

She lives comfortably now but had a tough start to life. Both of Marjorie’s parents died of tuberculosis, her father before she was born and her mother shortly afterwards.

She was adopted by her mother’s half brother, John Hartle and his wife.

Marjorie has written a book about her life, called Mrs F, which she passes on to family and friends.

“They never told us anything when I was younger, so I wrote the book so others could know,” she said.

Marjorie married a second time, to her late husband Eric Neal, and has one son, John Phillips. She said: “I can’t believe that I’m here at 96, when you think what a rough passage I had.”