Hannah Blake gains PCV licence

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Hannah is seen with her certificate in front of the coach she passed her test in – Irizar i6-bodied Scania coach 'BC15HJB.' SARAH ROBBINS
Hannah is seen with her certificate in front of the coach she passed her test in – Irizar i6-bodied Scania coach ‘BC15HJB.’ SARAH ROBBINS

Daughter of David and Janet Blake at Blakes of Tiverton all set for UK Coach Rally 2016

A second generation of the family behind respected North Devon coach operator Blakes is to enter the 2016 UK Coach Rally after David and Janet’s daughter Hannah gained her PCV driving licence on Friday (November 6).

Hannah, who is no stranger to industry events and makes no secret of her passion for the industry, passed her test in an Irizar i6-bodied Scania K440EB 6X2*4, acquired by the firm earlier this year, and which was entered into the 2015 UK Coach Rally.

Hannah told CBW that gaining her PCV was never a lifetime ambition: “I always wanted to drive a coach but not necessarily to have my career in the industry. However, spending more than three years working in the family firm has changed my outlook.

“The UK Coach Rally has also played a part in changing my perception of the industry too. I’ve made a lot of friends, including Dominic Aspinall at BASE/ Holmeswood, Matty James at York Pullman and Gabi Scott at Stanley Travel.”

Commenting on passing her test, Hannah enthused: “I was absolutely ecstatic – I couldn’t remove the grin from my face. I’m so glad I’ve done it. I feel happier in myself. My parents were overjoyed too. I didn’t know they were going to do it but they met me after my test, which was nice.”

Hannah explained the story behind her training: “I was 21 in June. I had considered starting my PCV training when I was 19 but I decided the 50km distance limit was too great a restriction when you’re based where we are in a rural area.

“I started training in early July with my dad. That helped build my confidence ahead of the external training when it came to handling the length and width of a coach. My intensive training started on Monday and I passed my test on Friday.”

Hannah trained with Exeter-based Dave Robbins Transport Academy. Dave Robbins told CBW: “Hannah was a very competent, switched on, confident young lady – not only behind the wheel, but about the industry as a whole. She did her module 4 CPC in the same week with a 100% pass rate. Blakes is one of the most professional operators we have had the pleasure of dealing with. Indeed, the examiner commented on what a top class vehicle the coach was.”

Hannah continued: “We came across Dave Robbins’ stand at the Devon County Show in Exeter, where we also had a stand. Importantly, I hit it off with Dave straight away.”

Hannah’s first solo run came on Friday afternoon when she took Irizar i6-bodied Scania coach ‘BC13HJB’ on a 20-mile road test after having its wheel torqued.

Asked about her plans for the future, Hannah replied: “I’m the Accounts Manager in the office. It’s useful having an extra person to drive coaches. I will be used for feeders and for odd jobs, including the occasional tour.”

+For more details about Dave Robbins Transport Academy, visit www.transportacademy.co.uk or call 01392 833158.