A NEWLY qualified lorry driver has proven that the haulage business is not just a man’s game after passing her HGV test first time at just 22.
Lou Bowden from Ramsgate wowed family and friends after breezing through the exam after just five hours of tuition.
- LORRY LADY: After a first time pass, Lou Bowden is looking to make a living as a HGV driver
She says her choice of profession is partly inspired by her boyfriend Anthony Elson who made headlines last year after he aced the same exam at just 18.
She said: “I am feeling well pleased with myself. Learning to drive a lorry wasn’t bad as I thought it would be, you just have to be more careful. I found I got used to it quickly.”
The test, which Lou had to go to Essex for, had come in two parts, a “class two” test for rigid vehicles following by an advanced “class one” test for articulated lorries.
Lou said: “I put a bit of pressure on myself to pass first time. During the first test I was nervous but went it came to round to the second part it was worse – I was even more nervous”
Instructor John Dawson said: “It is a unique achievement.
The test is in two parts and we do have quite a few women taking the first part, mostly so they can drive a horse box.
“Very few, if any, go on to do their class one.
“Lou was so exceptional in her class two test that it only took a couple of day to prepare her for her class one.”
Lou was working in sales for an energy company when she was made redundant last year.
She said: “Anthony gave me the idea to go for the test and I thought, ‘if he can do it so can I’. I only really decided to do it before Christmas.
“Some people might think I am crazy for doing it but most people I know are proper chuffed for me and think it is really good.
My dad loves the idea and mum still can’t believe I am allowed to drive something so big.”
Crediting Anthony for helping her pass first time, she said: “I am not sure if I would have done so well if it wasn’t him teaching me about lorry driving and helping me prepare for the test. He has been very, very supportive.”
John said: “She is easily the best class one pass we have had so far this year among men and women. As a driver she will be a major asset for any company that hires her. If I could, I would take her on myself, but you have to be driving for three years before you teach.”
Lou is now aiming get her first job which could see her driving lorry not just in the UK but on the continent.
She said: “I can’t wait to get started.”
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