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Josh happy to be behind the wheel

Josh Taylor with Kevin Harrick, his driving mentor. PHOTO/GEORGE SHIERS

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Josh Taylor, who made headlines for being Wairarapa’s sole representative at the 2021 Special Olympics, has gained his restricted licence after 10 months of lessons with driving mentor Kevin Herrick.

Taylor and Herrick started lessons together last June and, although they haven’t been going every week due to reasons such as covid restrictions, regular lessons meant Taylor passed his restricted test on his first attempt.

Taylor has global development delay, an intellectual disability that means it takes longer for someone to reach certain development milestones than other children their age.

He said although he hadn’t gone driving on his own yet, he did have his own car and having his licence felt “pretty good”.

The lessons were part of the community driver mentor programme provided by the Wairarapa Road Safety Council.

Herrick said he had been a driving mentor for about three years and considered Taylor to be his toughest but most rewarding student.

“This has probably been the highlight of my year,” Herrick said.

“Although Josh has been my most challenging student for him to get his restricted licence at the first attempt means he has also been my most rewarding.

“Josh should be very proud of himself and I hope by getting his licence it will help with his sporting and employment opportunities.

“I’m proud of him.”

When Taylor told his mum Melody that he had passed his test the first time she said she initially thought he was joking.

“When he called me up and told me he’d passed I didn’t believe him – I thought he was pulling my leg,” she said.

“I don’t know if he will go gallivanting around the country, but I really think this will open some doors. This is going to be huge for him.”

She said it was an achievement that wouldn’t have happened without the support of the driver programme.

“Massive thanks to Kevin and to the whole programme.

“If it wasn’t for them, we would still be driving up and down Kuripuni St.”

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