25,000 people over the age of 80 are still getting behind the wheel in Dorset, new figures have revealed.

The county has the 11th highest number of elderly drivers – Greater London has the highest with just over 73,000 followed by Hampshire with 39,963.

The figures were released after it emerged the number of drivers nationally over the age of 80 has topped the one million mark.

There are also 122 licence holders over the age of 100, including three 105-year-olds and one 106-year-old woman. One of these is 100-year-old Peggy Hovell, of West Parley, who drove to her own birthday party in July to celebrate reaching a century.

She is self-taught and has never had an accident in 85 years of driving.

Peggy, born Margaret Dowsing, said she first got behind the wheel when she was 15 and would drive herself to school. She has driven a coach and a motorbike.

Peggy regularly drives herself to Brendoncare Penny’s Friendship Club in Ferndown and says she “loves driving”.

She said: “I prefer driving to walking. I have had two bad falls walking so I feel safer strapped in the car because I cannot fall out. I don’t go very far and I don’t drive at night or on motorways. If someone knows the way then I will take them as a passenger but I don’t like driving if I don’t know the way.”

Roy Elliott, club team leader, said: “Being able to drive is very important. It is good for them to get out rather than staying indoors all the time. They can go to see friends, go to clubs and do their own shopping.

“For some of them giving up driving would be like taking their livelihood away.”