Northern Ireland

Granny drives Translink bus for first time aged 82

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Media captionRose Crawford from Kilkeel was a natural when she took to the wheel of a Translink double-decker

After 67 years of driving, an 82-year-old grandmother from County Down has fulfilled a life-long ambition to drive a bus.

On Thursday morning, Rose Crawford from Kilkeel was surprised by her family, who revealed her dream would be realised later in the day.

Rose's daughter Ann organised the lesson after becoming aware of Translink's 'Have a Go' scheme.

The initiative aims to encourage more women to become bus drivers.

Image caption Rose has driven a tractor and even lorries in the past, but she had always wanted to drive a bus

Rose, who has been driving since she was 15 years old, said she was "speechless" when she realised what was happening.

She has driven a tractor and even lorries in the past, but she had always wanted to drive a bus.

And the experience of driving not a single, but double-decker bus, lived up to all expectations, she told the BBC.

"It was brilliant - terrific!" she said.

Image caption Rose in the capable hands of her Translink instructor

"I really enjoyed it and I've been thinking about it and talking about it and wishing it from when I was young.

"But it was great - just the whole fact of feeling the weight of a bus and knowing what it was like to drive."

Over 200 women are participating in the 'Have A Go' initiative, enjoying practical experience of bus-driving, presentations from female Translink employees and useful advice on the recruitment process.

Image caption Rose with her daughter and a family friend, who organised the surprise

The only requirements are to be over 21 years old, to have at least two years experience of driving, and to be a woman.

Of the company's 1750 drivers, only around 150 are women at present.

But Rose has ruled herself out for the jobs currently on offer, vowing to leave it the women of younger generations.

"That's my ambition fulfilled now - that's good enough for me," she said.