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Caithness News Bulletins April 2003

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First Gear Runs Another Successful Driving Course For Young People.
The latest course of the First Gear training programme, a youth initiative for pre-learner drivers aged 16 & 17, concluded recently with Bob Law of RML Safety Training Services presenting the 8 young people with certificates after they successfully completed the course.

The course aims to encourage positive attitudes towards driving a car, plus the ownership and maintenance of a motor vehicle. It also promotes the correct attitude towards other road users.

The course lasts for several sessions over a number of weeks. It included stints of driving which were delivered on the ‘off road’ site at Dounreay (who also provided accommodation and refreshments for the course), under the watchful eyes of local Driving Instructors, Nicola Mowat (Driver Training) and John Duffield (Leaview Driving Academy). Also included in the programme were talks and practical sessions from officers of the Northern Constabulary, UKAEA Constabulary and UKAEA Fire Brigade.

A visit to the Fire Station in Wick continues to be one of the highlights of the course, when the participants get a chance to look around the station and appliances, with a talk from Station Officer Gordon Cook and Leading Fire-fighters Richard Mackay and John Gunn.

A visit was made for the very last time to the Old Police Station in Wick, where participants got a last chance to see it working before closure and removal to the new station. We were delighted to welcome on the final day of the course the Procurator Fiscal, Mr Gary Aitken who gave an enlightening talk, afterwards answering many questions from the young people.

Also included was a practical First Aid session delivered for the first time by Bob Law of RML Safety Training Services of Contin, Ross-shire. (Who also presented the certificates)

The programme was co-ordinated and presented by Brian Lavery of the Community Learning & Leisure Service in Wick and Diane Gibson of Youth Clubs Caithness.

The 8 young people who completed the course and received their certificates were Matthew Phimister, Sarah Clarke, Leanne Mackay-Steven, Laura Wyllie, Richard Whitty, Gregor Swanson, Craig Nicolson and Amy MacDonald.

The next First Gear Course is due to take place in November and anyone aged 16 or 17 who is interested in the next course should phone Brian Lavery at the Wick Community Education Centre on 01955 605423 for an application form.

In the Photograph
Left to right standing  Brian Lavery (Co-ordinator & co-presenter, Community Learning & Leisure Service, Wick), PC Alan Loomes (Northern Constabulary), PC Phil Williams-Blake (UKAEA Constabulary), Sarah Clarke,PC Dean McDonald (UKAEA Constabulary), Bob Law (RML Safety Training Services), Gary Aitken (Procurator Fiscal), Diane Gibson (Co-presenter, Youth Clubs Caithness), Craig Nicolson & Richard Whitty.  Kneeling at front - Gregor Swanson, Leanne Mackay-Steven, Laura Wyllie & Amy MacDonald. Missing from the photo are Driving Instructors Nicola Mowat (Driver Training) and John Duffield (Leaview Driving Academy)