Joy as Jamie, 18, becomes one of UK's youngest ever bus drivers
- Credit: Andrew Pursey
They say you are never too young to give something a go - although driving a double decker bus could perhaps be the exception.
But a talented teenager from east Suffolk has taken it all in his stride and proved that age is no barrier, as he became one of the youngest ever qualified Passenger Carrying Vehicle (PCV) drivers in the UK this week.
Jamie Pursey passed his PCV driving test on Wednesday, January 26 aged just 18 years and 34 days.
It means he has now been able to get behind the wheel of vehicles within the Beccles-based BorderBus fleet as he embarks on a career on the road.
His first school run, with another driver shadowing, took place from Sir John Leman High School in Beccles to Carlton Colville, Lowestoft on Wednesday afternoon (January 26), with his first solo school run completed the following day.
His proud father Andrew Pursey - the managing director of BorderBus - admitted Jamie's success was even more remarkable given the festive and New Year period was between his 18th birthday and when he took the test.
With Jamie's 18th birthday being on December 23 he has had to complete three separate practical tests since then.
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Mr Pursey said: "Jamie is certainly one of the youngest to pass his PCV test at 18 years and 34 days - especially when we had Christmas and New Year in between.
"To drive a PCV you need to have passed your car test, be a minimum of 18 years of age and complete a complex sequence of eight events."
Having always been "fascinated" by buses and lorries from a very early age, Mr Pursey said that it wasn't surprising "considering he's spent his whole life around them."
He added: "Jamie was competent and confident with the size of a bus, as he'd been shunting around the yard since he was 14 or 15."
After completing the first five steps prior to his 18th birthday, he was able to go on the road for the first time in a bus - a double decker bus - on December 23.
Mr Pursey said that much like his first driving lesson in a manual car at 00:01 on his 17th birthday, where "he exuded confidence" and "was clearly going to be a natural driver" that these abilities were evident during his first attempt driving a double decker bus.
He added: "He proved he was going to be a natural driver."
Over the next couple of weeks, Jamie went out numerous times in various different buses, and his confidence continued to grow.
"However we didn't have a vehicle that was suitable for him to take his test in - as it needed a seatbelt and additional mirrors for the examiner," Mr Pursey said.
So a Caetano Levante coach was kindly loaned from EnsignBus in Purfleet for the subsequent 'off road test' at Norwich on January 19, a 'practical demonstration' at Thurrock on January 20 and the 'on road rest' at Ipswich on Wednesday.
And after all his efforts, the PCV test was passed at the first time of asking this week - just like his car driving test, which - at the height of lockdown - was passed on April 24 last year after three lessons with a driving instructor and a number of driving lessons with his dad.
Jamie plans to continue and complete his A-level studies at East Norfolk Sixth Form College in Gorleston, but he will drive part-time for BorderBus at weekends as well as other days away from college and when he has spare time.
While he hasn't decided what his future holds, his proud dad Andrew Pursey said: “Jamie will probably join the family business at some stage, but he certainly seems keener to be behind the wheel rather than a computer screen."