Posted online: Feb 1st, 2011
A unique reunion was held in Magherafelt recently when well known driving instructor Pat Deehan met up with a former student with a difference.
Magherafelt man Pat, who continues to run a driving school in the town, met former student Jim Patterson 45 years after he helped the Kilrea native pass his driving test.
The reunion took place at the 50th anniversary of Magherafelt and District Road Safety Committee which was held recently.
The event made headlines across Ireland and England back in 1965 because Jim had earlier lost both legs and an arm after being electrocuted.
Jim was electrocuted when a ladder he was holding against a wall touched overhead wires.
In September 1965 Jim started taking lessons with Pat and by December that year the 21-year-old passed his test in the glare of a media storm.
Back in the 1960’s he also received high praise from Battle of Britain pilot Douglas Bader. The famous RAF fighter pilot was also a double leg amputee.
At the time he said: “This young man does not need any advice or help from me. He has a heart that will take him anywhere. I have never seen a boy like him.”
Pat Deehan was delighted to meet up with his old student.
He said: “Jim Patterson is a role model, not only for the handicapped, but for everyone of us who use the roads. He would have been a worthy candidate for a place in the Daily Mirror Pride of Britain Awards.
“In my 50 years in both Road safety and driving instruction, Jim Patterson has been my outstanding pupil and it has been a privilege to have known him.”