Geraldine’s driving ambition

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A Buncrana mum of four has turned to a radio show for help in a desperate bid to pass her driving test.

After 25 driving lessons and two failed tests, Geraldine O’Doherty(57) was about to give up on her dream.

But the separated mum who is originally from Galway, was thrown a lifeline when she was selected to take part in the What’s Next Challenge on The John Murray Show on RTE Radio 1.

She has been teamed up with driving instructor, Donal Brady, from her hometown of Buncrana, who stepped up to help her overcome her nerves after hearing her plight on the airwaves.

Geraldine’s third lesson was recorded for the John Murray Show and broadcast earlier this week.

Speaking afterwards, she said she was confident of a breakthrough this time.

“I feel terrific. Donal is very empowering and very encouraging, just the person I need to help me because I was very nervous.

“I feel I am improving on that score and that I am more relaxed when I am driving, which has to be good,” said Geraldine when it was over.

Geraldine, whose youngest child is 16 years old, only took up driving after separating from her husband three years ago and has been driving on a provisional licence since.

“I have to be independent. I felt either I do it this year or I just forget about it.

“That’s why I contacted the show. I am really hoping I am going to get the test next time and achieve my goal.

“It would make my life complete,” she said.

Mentor, Donal Brady from the Street School of Motoring thinks his latest student has “come on leaps and bounds” since the short time she has been with him.

“Things are looking good. Her observation skills have come on a lot.

“We are getting there and we will stick with it,” he said confidently.

He added that he would not rush Geraldine into setting a date for her third driving test.

“We have a way to go yet and when I feel she is fit to go, that’s the time we will make the application,” he said.

The What’s Next Challenge, which was launched on the John Murray Show last month, has matched mentors with four finalists who have set new personal challenges.

Others include Ger Walsh from Ardrahan, Galway who is trying to overcome her fear of flying; Jenny Hill from Ranelagh, Dublin who has taken on the challenge of learning how to surf and Anne Kelleher from Macroom, Co Cork who wants to get up to speed with a MacBook computer so she can communicate with her daughter in Australia.