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News from Northampton Advanced Motorists

 Test Passes
Congratulations to our members on passing their Advanced Driving Test during the past 12 months:
Mark Daws   -  Paul O'Bierne   -  Valerie Honeyfield   -  Jose Samuel   -  Adam Browett   -  Pauline Judge   -  Milan Rados   -  Jack Barton   -  George McGuinness   -  Joan Toohey   -  Fran Yeomans   -  Tilly Thompson   -  Cissy Xia   -  John Murray-Hawkins (F1rst)  -  Richard Shoreland (F1rst)  -  Robert Lane (F1rst)  -  Mike Bannister  -  David Sentance  -  Gaynor Sampson  -  Alina Sandu  -  Jack McGuinness  -  Brian Wilson  -  Susan Anderson  -  Connor Percival (F1rst)  -  Paul Middlehurst (F1rst)  -  James Edmondson  -  Jackie Brockett  -  Matthew Warren

View All test passes


News for 2019


Group wins grant for Young Driver Funding

funding funding We are thrilled to announce we have been awarded a grant from the Office of the Police, Fire, and Crime Commissioner. Specifically, the grant is for young drivers who are our most vulnerable section of drivers.

In our bid we explained the Advanced driving course is an excellent way of improving driver behaviour and making our roads safer.

Road safety organisations, the Government, and the Northamptonshire Safer Roads Alliance are constantly trying initiatives aimed at under-26 drivers, as this age group is statistically more likely to be involved in a collision than other groups.

We wish to assist in every possible way by encouraging more under-26 drivers in our area to become advanced drivers. To this end, this grant is enabling us to offer a refund of £100 off the IAM RoadSmart Advanced Driving Course for under-26 drivers who pass their Advanced Driving Test with us.

The £149 cost is often out of the reach of younger drivers, therefore by offering a substantial discount, we will make the Advanced Driving Course affordable and attractive.

If you know a young driver who would like to benefit from this scheme, please contact us on or get them to book a free taster drive here.


2019 Group Subscriptions due!

sub It is that time again - our Group subscriptions are due. Our subscriptions have remained at £10 for some years, and represent excellent value!

You can download the forms here, including a standing order form.


Peter Davey

peter Sadly, we have to report the death of long serving Observer and committee member, Peter Davey on 6th January this year.

He took and passed his IAM Advanced Driving Test in 1991 driving his beloved 1980 MGB GT. Following this he trained and became an Observer then senior observer for our Group. Helping many Associates pass their test. He joined our committee at the end of 1995, and became our first one-one organiser and serving for seventeen years. He worked tirelessly for our Group, which can be evidenced in Peter winning our *Points Award on no less than three occasions (1994, 2001 and 2003). Unfortunately ill health forced peter to step down from observing in 2014 although he and Ellen still attended our social events.

On his retirement we awarded Peter our Presidents Award to acknowledge his enormous and valuable contribution to our Group.

Peter also had a number of other talents, not least as an artist. He painted mainly in watercolours and oils, doing mainly landscapes, and at one point ran a small afternoon art class. He was also a talented cartoonist, and created a number for us to use in our newsletters.

He was a committed MG owner, and attended many of their events including the annual trip to Jersey which he professed was his favourite holiday destination.


News for 2018


IAM RoadSmart launches "Thumbs Up For Great Driving!", 1st - 31st August 2018

RoadSmart has labelled August ‘Thumbs Up For Great Driving And Riding!’ month as the charity gears up for a campaign to increase courteous and polite driving and riding on UK roads.

From 1st to 31st August, IAM RoadSmart is encouraging drivers and motorcyclists via its network of 202 local groups around the country to acknowledge and demonstrate their appreciation when another driver or rider lets them into traffic, allows them priority or gives them a helping hand –with a simple thumbs up.

The money raised from the campaign will go towards a special IAM RoadSmart safety vehicle, decked up in IAM RoadSmart colours and equipped with road safety merchandise and equipment. If the target of £10,000 is reached, IAM RoadSmart groups around the country can use the vehicle free of charge for promotional events or displays through the year as they help spread the road safety message to young people and local community groups in their area.

The ‘Thumbs Up For Great Driving And Riding!’ campaign has won the support of two of the country’s most respected motorsport heroes –Nigel Mansell CBE and Paddy Hopkirk OBE, plus one of the UK’s most accomplished riders, Maria Costello MBE. Nigel, who is world famous for his 14-year Formula 1 career culminating in winning the 1992 world title in a Williams, said: “Nowadays it sometimes feels like courtesy on our roads is in rather short supply – and it’s about time that good driving is rewarded. I am wholly in favour of ‘Thumbs Up For Great Driving And Riding!’ month –anything that leaves a smile on the face after a journey is a good idea to me.”

Paddy, who became a household name after winning the Monte Carlo and Acropolis rallies in the iconic red Mini, as well as competing at Le Mans, Daytona in the USA and the epic London-Sydney Marathon, added: “I’ve been driving for more than six decades and being thanked or thanking someone changes the whole tone of a journey. Let’s just make all our lives that much more cheerful by giving the thumbs up where it’s deserved and moving on with a smile.

”Maria, who made history as the first woman to claim a podium at the Isle of Man Classic TT alongside her hero John McGuinness and who held the Guinness World Record as the fastest woman to lap the Isle of Man TT course for five years, said: “It really is a shame to see conflict on the road escalate so fast, when all it takes is for one party to back down and diffuse the situation. We urge everyone out there to be the ‘bigger man or woman’ and take the first step towards promoting courtesy between road users as the norm and not the exception.

”IAM RoadSmart is asking drivers and motorcyclists to get involved with the campaign by sharing their own positive driving and riding experiences on social media using the hashtags #ThumbsUpForGreatDriving, #ThumbsUpForGreatRiding or #ThumbsUpForGreatDrivingAndRiding.

For more information please visit or go to the Thunderclap page here to help share the message.


Northamptonshire County Schools Challenge Grand Final, 9th July 2018

ncsc The Northamptonshire County Schools Challenge (NCSC) is a joint Northamptonshire Police and Northamptonshire Fire & Rescue Service project where secondary school pupils use a business approach to raise awareness and develop creative ways to tackle a social problem.

This year the theme is keeping our roads safe for 12-16 year olds.  NCSC selected the theme following an excellent bid from the Northamptonshire Safer Roads team, who explained that whilst there was a lot of road safety materials for primary schools and for 6th formers (new drivers), there was very little for the vulnerable 12-16 year olds.

NCSC have 24 schools participating, and the Dragons will be selecting the top eight from the two-day semi-finals to represent their schools at our Grand Final being held in July.  At this point NCSC do not know what innovative products and/or services the students will design, but based on previous years they will be exciting.

NCSC would like to extend an invitation to all our members to attend the Grand Final, details as follows:

Event: Northamptonshire County Schools Challenge Grand Final
Venue: The Castle Theatre, Wellingborough NN8 1XA
Date: Monday 9th July 2018
Time: 5 pm for 5.30 pm start
Tickets: Free – but must be booked

To book ticket(s), contact Henny Cameron who will reserve them to be picked up from the box office on the night.  Alternatively they can be booked via the Castle box office, using or 01933 270007


General Data Protection Regulations - 25th May 2018

gdpr New data protection laws mean we need permission to stay in touch therefore we have now contacted all our members who have been current within the past 12 months and our supporters to ask them to opt into receiving communications about promotional and social events.

Members an supporters will still receive our quarterly newsletter, monthly bulletins and subscription reminders as these form part of our core membership with them. In addition members undergoing the Advanced Driving Course will still receive information about one-one observed drives and classroom sessions.

We have asked members to confirm they wish the following:

  • to receive information about our social and promotional events
  • that we can publish their name and photo in any write up of our events in our newsletter, and on our social media accounts to publicise our Group.
  • to use social media and our website to celebrate our test passes and their achievement.

We have a data privacy notice that can be found here and a data retention policy.

If you are a member or supporter and think you have not received our GDPR e-mail, please check your Junk emails. If it is not there, please contact us using our contact page.


#DontStreamAndDrive day 3rd April 2018

logos We are proud to support the #DontStreamAndDrive campaign, the only IAM RoadSmart Group to officially do so (click on logos to get larger image and spot our logo!).

The following is taken from the Think Road Safety governnent website

The facts

Drivers using a hands-free or handheld mobile phone are slower at recognising and reacting to hazards.

Research shows:

You are four times more likely to be in a crash if you use your phone.

Your reaction times are two times slower if you text and drive than if you drink drive, and this increases to three times if you use a handheld phone.

Even careful drivers can be distracted by a call or text – and a split-second lapse in concentration could result in a crash.

mobile phone The law

It's illegal to use a handheld mobile when driving. This includes using your phone to follow a map, read a text or check social media. This applies even if you’re stopped at traffic lights or queuing in traffic.

It is also illegal to use a handheld phone or similar device when supervising a learner driver.

You can only use a handheld phone if you are safely parked or need to call 999 or 112 in an emergency and it’s unsafe or impractical to stop.

If you’re caught using a handheld phone while driving, you’ll get 6 penalty points on your licence and a fine of £200. Points on your licence will result in higher insurance costs.

If you get just 6 points in the first two years after passing your test, you will lose your licence.

Using hands free (e.g. for navigation) is not illegal. However, if this distracts you and affects your ability to drive safely, you can still be prosecuted by the police.


Brian Johnson

brian It is with real sadness that we have to announce the death of one of our longest serving observers, Brian Johnson.

Brian passed his car test in September 1986 and became an observer soon after. He continued in this role for 26 years, helping many of our Associates successfully achieve advanced driver status.

Being a trucker by trade (he drove for Golden Wonder amongst others), Brian followed this up with his commercial test in 1988. Becoming an observer for commercial vehicles naturally followed! Over the next five years Brian helped 11 drivers pass their commercial Advanced Driving test.

Brian joined our committee in 1995 only resigning in 2013 due to ill-health. During this time he became Chief Observer, responsible for standards and training of all our observers. He also arranged many specialist events, often involving a coach or bus from the Northampton Historical Vehicle Association of which he was a member. The Group enjoyed turning up to Bletchley Park, Sulgrave Manor and the National Tramway museum in one of their beautiful vehicles.

Always generous with his time and with a heart of gold, Brian used to hold sessions with his truck so Group members could understand the view from the cab and have a go at manoeuvring.

Brian had a never ending supply of jokes and one-liners, and a beaming smile! He was also an expert crossworder, and often set the crosswords in our newsletter.

Away from the IAM, Brian was a keen scrabble player, and was a member of the Northampton Twinning Association. This meant he had many trips to twinned towns, and knew the Mayor of Northampton - whom he always brought as a guest to our Christmas meals!

In 2011 Brian was awarded The Presidents Award to thank him for his excellent service to the group.


Our 40th Birthday

This year, on 31st January to be exact, we will hit a big milestone birthday, our 40th!!

To celebrate this very special occasion, and to say thank you to all our hardworking members (past and present) we will be organising a big event in the summer. At the moment we are thinking of a barbeque related event. If you have any suggestions, please let us know.

We are also hoping that we can reach another milestone achievement this year, that of our 1,000th test pass. We had an amazing year in 2017 with 38 passes (our year does not end until 31st January so this may increase!), and if we match these figures in 2018 we will achieve 1,000 passes!.


News for 2017


Tyre Safety Month October 2017

tyre safety We are supporting the 2017 Tyre Safety Month (October). The following tyre safety advice is from Tyre Safe (

Tread depth is important to maintain good grip on wet roads but, as the tread wears down, the tyres will lose the ability of good grip. The ‘20p test’ is a quick way to check the tread depth. Place a 20p coin into the main tread grooves at three points across the tyre and then repeat around its circumference. If the outer band is visible, the tyres may be unsafe or illegal and need to be checked by a tyre professional.

Tyre pressure is equally important. Having the right pressure ensures the car handles as it should, reduces the risk of a sudden deflation and helps keep fuel consumption of the vehicle at its optimal level. The car manufacturer typically displays the correct pressures in the door shut or filler cap, but it can always be found in the owner’s manual or on TyreSafe’s pressure checker. Remember there are two pressures – one for normal loads and the other when fully laden.

While you’re checking pressures, it’s a good opportunity to have a look at the tyre’s condition. Tyres are never manufactured with lumps, bumps or objects sticking in them, so if you see any of these, you’ll need to have the tyre inspected. If objects like stones are wedged in the tread, remove them if you can.


click on image to enlarge




Group receives First Aid training

First Aid First Aid First aid Members of our Group enjoyed a first aid training evening presented by Aidan Ward (senior paramedic lecturer, University of Northampton) and Adam Jeskins (Community First Responder and AAT for East Midlands Ambulance Trust). Both Aidan and Adam are Observers with the Northampton Advanced Motorists and tailored the training to cover what to do if you are the first on the scene of a road traffic collision. This included how to stabilise somebody in a vehicle (having made the scene secure and safe first), how to keep their airway open and deal with traumatic bleeding.

Ian Phillips kindly brought in a number of different motorcycle helmets and showed the different fastenings. Aidan and Adam then showed the group how to remove a helmet safely (but only if the motorcyclists airway is compromised). The training culminated in dealing with cardiac arrest, using CPR and a defibrillator.

We will be running another training evening in 2018.


Northampton Advanced Motorists have signed the Project EDWARD pledge

Project EDWARD Project Edward - “European Day Without a Road Death” – is run by TISPOL, the European-wide Traffic Police network. It's target is that no one should die on the roads of Europe on 21 September each year.

It believes that changing people's behaviour is key to making roads safer and asks that people sign up to its pledge:-

My road safety pledge

I promise that I will:

  • Remind my family, friends and colleagues to take extra care on the roads.
  • Put my lights on for safety.
  • Drive as safely as I can and follow the rules when behind the wheel or riding a motorbike or bicycle.
  • Be extra vigilant and attentive to the needs of pedestrians, cyclists, children, older people and horse riders.
  • Drive at speeds that are both legal and safe.
  • Carry out proper safety checks on my tyres.
  • Pay particular attention when driving near schools, and where there are lots of children.
  • Never drive after drinking alcohol or taking drugs/medicines that could impair safety.
  • Look as far ahead as possible and not tailgate other drivers
  • Always wear my seat belt and ensure that everyone with me wears theirs.
  • Not use my mobile phone while driving.
  • Ensuring I am not distracted by anything inside or outside the car, or inside my head.
  • Set a good example to my passengers by driving calmly and safely.

Sign the pledge and find out more about Project EDWARD


Group's BikeSafeUK Highway Code Competition winner announced

bikesafe1 At the BikeSafe UK/OpenRoads event held on 19th August at Rockingham Speedway, we ran a highway code competition. Sixty members of the public entered the competition with varying degrees of success!

Our top scorer, and winner, is Debbie Warner of Kettering. Congratulations to Debbie, who showed an impressive knowledge of the Highway Code! Debbie has won herself a £20 Amazon voucher.

The questions, with answers, are here! The ones that caused the problems were question 3 (You may park on a verge or footpath when an information sign advises it), and road signs 1 (warning of either give way and/or stop sign ahead) and 6 (Two way traffic crossing a one-way street)!


Group's 950th Advanced test pass!

Phil Bradley today became our 950th IAM RoadSmart test pass - and Phil did it in style gaining a F1RST!

Based on our number of test passes this year it is projected we will reach our 1,000th test pass in 2019! We are keeping an eye on this as there may be a celebration or two when we reach this milestone event!


National Bike Safe and OpenRoads, Rockingham Speedway 19th August

openroads We are will be attending the excellent national BikeSafe/OpenRoads event being held at Rockingham Speedway on 19th August.

For more information, please see our Events page.


Photographic Competition

We have recently updated our website and we would like a good photograph taken in Northamptonshire to use as the main banner.

We would like a photograph as follows:

  • Original photo taken by yourself or family member (e.g. no copyright issues)
  • Must not have won any other competition or been published.
  • The photo must lend itself to fitting the landscape/oblong size of our front page (19 inch wide 4.2 inch high),  we will enlarge and/or select part of the photo to fit, but it must have the definition to be enlarged and retain sharpness
  • No limit to the number of photos you can submit
  • You must be a member of, or family member of somebody that is a member of, Northampton Advanced Motorists.

The photo itself must represent our Group and what we do, either:

  • an inviting road (with or without cars)
  • an atmospheric view of road, e.g. sunset/sunrise, sunny day etc
  • a photo of Northampton or Northamptonshire (but must have a link to our Group)

photo winner We would also like to make use of any photos sent in, by creating a newsletter article around them, therefore if you could provide a brief note on why you took the photo, when, where, and any special memories to you.

Closing date: 30 June 2017

Submit entries to:

*** Stop press ****

We have a winner - An amazing photography of the road through Chapel Brampton taken by Catherine Tew was unanimously chosen. It can now be seen on this website and our social media sites!

Catherine can be seen receiving her prize from Group Secretary, David Smith.


New Group President - Chief Inspector Gary Ashton

gary We are very pleased to announce that Chief Inspector Gary Ashton, Northamptonshire Police, has agreed to be our new Group president.

Chief inspector Ashton explains:

"I am Chief Inspector Gary Ashton and it is my honour to be asked to serve as president of the Northampton Advanced Motorists, an organisation that has supported safer driving in our county for almost 40 years. As a uniform officer since 1994, the safety of our communities remains a very high priority for me. I am frequently humbled by the many people who give their time freely to make Northamptonshire a safer place for people to live, work and visit; NAM members are a great example of this, supporting drivers achieving the highest standards and thereby improving the safety of our road network.

My policing career has predominantly been in uniform community roles, ranging from beat officer work through firearms command, Roads Safety and Community Command posts, in all parts of Northamptonshire. All of these roles have a strong prevention ethos and rely on building effective links with the communities we serve, protecting people from harm through great partnership working and drawing on the skills and capabilities of groups like NAM to support our policing mission to Protect People from Harm.

Thank you for the opportunity to work with NAM in the coming years. I’m excited about the road ahead."

Chief Inspector Ashton succeeds Superintendent Cox, who has transferred to The Metropolitan Police.


Chris Tew, Sponsored Young Driver, passes IAM RoadSmart Test

Congratulations to Chris Tew, who passed his IAM RoadSmart Advanced Driving test this morning (11th February).

Chris joined us under our newly created Young Driver Sponsorship Scheme, in April 2016. Chris has been working with John Norrie, our Group Chairman and senior observer, and has proved to be very adept at picking up the new techniques. He is our first sponsored young driver to complete the Advanced Driving Course and pass his test.

Chris joins his mother, Catherine Tew, who passed her Advanced test last month!


2017 Group Subscriptions due!

sub It is that time again - our Group subscriptions are due. Our subscriptions have remained at £10 for some years, and represent excellent value!

You can download the forms here, including a standing order form.


Young Driver Sponsorship - Callum Fletcher

We are really pleased to announce that Callum Fletcher is our second young driver to be presented with sponsorship by Northampton Advanced Motorists.

The sponsorship will provide Callum, who has already begun his training, with all his observed drives, classroom session, and the Advanced Test.

If you are under 25 years old, live within Northamptonshire, have a full driving license and legal access to a car and feel this would be right for you, tell us in no more than 250 words why you feel you should be awarded sponsorship.

Send your application to our Group Secretary (


Happy new Year

Happy New year to all our members and everyone who has supported us during 2016.


News for 2016


Problem with Motorways?

Many people avoid using motorways, or have issues with them. If you know someone like this, get them to come to our Arrive & Drive sessions on the first Sunday of the month.

There will be a demonstration drive on the motorway with full explanation during the drive. This will be followed by a guidance session over the same route in your own car, with guidance from one of our observers. It’s free and could change your approach to motorways. We can also help with manoeuvring and parking.

We meet at Mereway police Station, Mereway, Northampton NN4 0JQ at 9.30 am.


IAM RoadSmart launched

The Institute of Advanced Motorists has brought all its commercial subsidiaries under one trading name, IAM RoadSmart.

A great new look includes a new logo and website (, coincides with the IAM’s 60th anniversary. Affiliated Groups, such as ourselves, are able to display the "official provider" logo seen here.

Nigel Mansell, IAM president and Formula 1 World Champion, added: “To appeal to a new generation of drivers and riders it’s essential to understand and reflect their needs and priorities. In becoming IAM RoadSmart the IAM is taking an essential step into an exciting future, with an approach which is more relevant than ever before.

IAM RoadSmart’s chief executive officer, Sarah Sillars OBE added: “We will be launching a suite of new products to support the needs of all road users. The advanced driving and riding tests will remain core to what we do and will continue to be seen as the ultimate achievement, but if you just want to get more confident driving in bad weather for instance, we can help with that too."


Young Driver Sponsorship Winner - Chris Tew

We are really pleased to announce that the winner of our very first young driver sponsorship is 18 year old Chris Tew.

Chris, seen here with our Group Chairman John Norrie, has already had his first assessment drive, and also had a demonstration drive from John. Chris said "I found details of the sponsorship on the Group website. I love driving on country roads but do not feel 100% confident driving in towns." After his assessment, Chris commented "my assessment drive was very instructive"


Young Driver Sponsorship - worth £149

Are you between 17 and 24 years old, hold a full driving license and want a challenge?

Northampton Advanced Motorists (NAM) intends to sponsor two young drivers to have advanced driver training and take the advanced driving test.

This ‘Skill for Life’ package normally costs £149, but the two successful applicants will only pay £50 each on starting training, and will be fully reimbursed when they successfully complete the course.

There are no time constraints on this training in that as many observed drives as required will be provided over whatever time scale is necessary. Normally this will be within six to twelve months.

The training will be undertaken by a qualified observer on a one to one basis. Observed drives are arranged at a mutually convenient time, usually once per week. There will also be an opportunity to attend a classroom session followed by a demonstration drive at some point during the training period. Applicants must be in the 17 to 24 age range on 31st March 2016, and live within Northamptonshire.

If you have a full driving license and legal access to a car and feel this would be right for you, tell us in no more than 250 words why you feel you should be chosen.

Send your application to our Group Secretary ( by March 31st 2016. The same address can be used for further information or questions.


AGM - Group President, Superintendent Andy Cox confirmed as Guest Speaker

Our Group President, Superintendent Andy Cox, has been confirmed as our Guest Speaker for the AGM on Wednesday 13th April. Andy will be talking about his time in Northamptonshire police. Further details see events


February, March, April and May Checkdrives still at Mereway Police Station

sub A new roundabout is being built on the Mereway dual carriageway. This is resulting in ongoing roadworks, some of which will close Mereway dual carriageway to through traffic. We run our monthly checkdrives from Mereway police Station car park. If Mereway dual carriageway is closed, access to our Checkdrives is via the Queen Eleanor roundabout (A45). You may be stopped by a workman, but they will let you through.


Group Subscriptions due!

sub It is that time again - our Group subscriptions are due. Our subscriptions have remained at £10 for some years, and represent excellent value!

You can download the forms here, including a standing order form.


Happy new Year

Happy New year to all our members and everyone who has supported us during 2015.


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