Next stop is Vienna for Morecambe's much-loved 'Tyre Lady' after she wins major award

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She’s known affectionately as the ‘Tyre Lady’ but Sophie Lyden’s drive to support novice drivers has earned her another title – Inspirational Woman.

And that’s not just because Sophie, 28, won the ‘Inspiring Female’ category at the Automechanika 2024 Garage Awards in Birmingham, an event that celebrates the hard work of the UK’s independent garages.

The depot manager at family business, Westgate Tyres, is founder of Fresh Drivers UK, a motoring group with a strong social media presence that aims to nurture and develop the road skills and confidence of young and new drivers.

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And whilst Westgate Tyres have always campaigned about tyre safety, Sophie, 28, reveals it was an incident several years that spurred her on.

Sophie Lyden is the first female spokesperson for the Motor Ombudsman.Sophie Lyden is the first female spokesperson for the Motor Ombudsman.
Sophie Lyden is the first female spokesperson for the Motor Ombudsman.

“We have always campaigned through social media but after the pandemic we noticed things had got considerably worse,” she explained. “So I started writing about it on LinkedIn. Then in 2022, we had a bad car crash outside the garage. A lady crashed into a parked car and flipped on her roof.

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“So from then I started going down the avenue of road safety and campaigning for that. I started going to a lot of seminars and conferences on road safety. I kind of found my niche.”

Sophie started to create videos and information to inform drivers, uploading them onto social platforms like TikTok, LinkedIn and Instagram.

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Sophie Lyden is affectionately known as the 'Tyre Lady'.Sophie Lyden is affectionately known as the 'Tyre Lady'.
Sophie Lyden is affectionately known as the 'Tyre Lady'.

It’s a tireless campaign which has seen Sophie – who said she is “in shock” after scooping her award – also become the first female spokesperson for the Motor Ombudsman, and she will soon be heading off to Vienna to address a convention on compliance and automation.