Road campaigner who guided Formula 1 champs Hamilton and Button inspires legacy to train new young drivers for the road

Posted on 15/08/18 |

A committed road safety campaigner who guided Formula 1 champions Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button through the early stages of their racing careers has inspired a legacy to help young drivers drive responsibly and safely.

Harry Sowden was a long-standing committee member at Home Counties North Advanced Drivers, one of road safety charity IAM RoadSmart’s regional groups.

Harry, who sadly passed away last October age 84, played a significant part in the early careers of Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button during his time as Clerk of the Course at Rye House Karting circuit – and earned a mention in Lewis Hamilton’s official autobiography.

IAM Roadsmart Home Counties North group has decided to set up a legacy in his memory, inspired by his passion for encouraging young drivers to embark on advanced training with IAM RoadSmart.

Harry’s concern for the welfare of young drivers was well founded. The risk of motor vehicle crashes is higher among 16 to 19-year-olds than among any other age group.

Per mile driven, teen drivers age 16 to 19 are nearly three times more likely than drivers aged 20 and older to be in a fatal crash.

In addition young car drivers (17 to 24 years old) account for a quarter of drivers killed in reported accidents who are over the legal alcohol limit.

‘Harry’s Legacy’ will train 10 young drivers, with each getting a full refund of the cost of the IAM RoadSmart Advanced Driving course once passing their test.

The first to benefit from ‘Harry’s Legacy’ is Jamie Chandler, age 22 from Flitwick.

Maxine Bromyard, chief observer of Home Counties North Advanced Drivers, said: “The committee wanted to mark the contribution Harry made to the group, to road safety, and to IAM RoadSmart and thanks to his commitment to encouraging young people to drive safely, we thought the legacy was a great way to do it.

“We know that Jamie is a worthy recipient of the first ‘Harry’s Legacy’ and I know Harry would be delighted to know that a new group of young drivers will be even safer on the roads thanks to his inspiration.”

Harry’s widow Jean added: “He was very passionate about young drivers and encouraging them to take further training with IAM RoadSmart to reach Advanced Test standard and be safer on the roads.

“Harry would be very flattered to have his name attached to this legacy. He wanted to make sure young people did not become a statistic or victim, and lived to enjoy their lives to the full – in and out of the car.”



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IAM RoadSmart has a mission to make better drivers and riders in order to improve road safety, inspire confidence and make driving and riding enjoyable. It does this through a range of courses for all road users, from online assessments through to the advanced driving and riding tests. IAM RoadSmart is the trading name of all businesses operated by the UK’s largest road safety charity, the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) and was formed in April 2016 combining the IAM, IAM Drive & Survive, PDS and IAM Driver Retraining Academy. The organisation has 92,000 members and campaigns on road safety on their behalf. At any one time there are over 7,000 drivers and riders actively engaged with IAM RoadSmart’s courses, from members of the public to company drivers, while our Driver Retraining Academy has helped 2,500 drivers to shorten their bans through education and support programmes.

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