I FIRST met Jackie Mouat back in 1983 and her unique sporting prowess amazed me.

I had never met a lady who had been so successful in numerous Isle of Wight sports.

Recently, we met again, in the same house, but this time, to avoid breaking the law, we sat in the garden sheltering from the rain at a perfect social distance.

Now, she had added golf to her repertoire and, despite only having had two lessons, has won numerous competitions.

Isle of Wight County Press: Jackie Mouat in Island squash action with her fizzing backhand.Jackie Mouat in Island squash action with her fizzing backhand.

At West Wight Middle School, Jackie had been such a gifted athlete.

She did well in both the 100m and 800m, was a good high jumper and came second in the Island Schools Cross-Country race.

In the Isle of Wight Middle School Championships, she entered the throwing the rounders ball event.

Apparently, no one had even seen a rounders ball in Freshwater.

It didn’t matter though — she set a record with her first throw.

As an 11 year old, she was taught to sail by Sid Lacey at Yarmouth Sailing Club.

Isle of Wight County Press: Four former Island squash stars. Back row Barry Hancott and Dave Horne and frontrow Myra Price and Jackie Mouat.Four former Island squash stars. Back row Barry Hancott and Dave Horne and frontrow Myra Price and Jackie Mouat.

He did such a good job, he even loaned her his mirror dinghy for the summer — during which, she won her class for the whole season.

Up until then, her only award had been for capsizing her boat the most times.

On dry land, she joined Yarmouth Badminton Club. Both her parents played for the club.

With Stephen Ball, she won the Isle of Wight Juniors Mixed Doubles Championship.

Having moved to Carisbrooke High, Jackie played hockey for the school and the Island under-16s.

Isle of Wight County Press: Jackie Mouat.Jackie Mouat.

In her fifth year, she threw the javelin and ran the 110m hurdles for Hampshire in the England Schools Championships.

In her first-ever competitive shot putt event, Jackie also broke the Island record.

She told me, back in 1983: “When I was eight, my school report pointed out I enjoyed physical activities more than books.”

Jackie was such a promising swimmer at the West Wight club.

Before they had their own pool, she trained at both the Brambles and Brighstone holiday centres.

Isle of Wight County Press: Jackie and Jock Campbell had great mixed doubles success in the Island squash scene.Jackie and Jock Campbell had great mixed doubles success in the Island squash scene.

Years later, when she was working with the late Martin Poynter at Newport Fire Station, they agreed they were born 30 years too soon.

Both were such talented young swimmers who could have been picked up, but there was no sponsorship and money was tight to cover all the travelling costs.

In 1979, while working at the Savoy Country Club, an old friend showed her how to play squash.

It was a little embarrassing, as Jackie beat her.

“I liked the game straight away, but I was not interested enough to take it seriously,” she said.

Isle of Wight County Press: Jackie Mouat, right, with Bev Whorwood — the first women on the Island to join the Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Service.Jackie Mouat, right, with Bev Whorwood — the first women on the Island to join the Isle of Wight Fire and Rescue Service.

“Then Jock Campbell came on the scene. I was lodging with him and his wife in Newport.

“He became my driving influence — and he even managed to get me out running.”

By the way, she went to lodge with Jock and Ann for six weeks — and left 15 years later!

They called her the cuckoo at the time — and they still do on occasions.

In her first Island championship, Jackie lost to Carol Whitehead, but came away with a different outlook on the game.

“I saw the men’s final between Barry Hancott and Philip Goodwin and realised what squash was all about,” added Jackie.

She must have been a natural as she quickly won the Savoy’s club championship three times and then became the Isle of Wight champion for many years.

When she teamed up with Jock in the mixed doubles championships, they never lost a match and won many other titles.

Jackie, who had perfected a fearsome backhand, was spotted playing in the Hampshire Championships and, on the strength of it, was invited to play for Portsmouth in the Hampshire League.

She became their number two. A great honour, as their number one was Martine Le Moignan, who was the world number two at the time.

They once met at Westridge and Jackie shook her world-ranked opponent by winning the first game.

Martine was shaken, but not stirred, and quickly recovered, leaving Jackie not seeing much of the ball after that.

But it was still a fantastic performance, with Jackie going on to play for Hampshire.

Apparently, many squash players move into golf when they retire from the courts.

In 1989, Jackie achieved a memorable double.

She was tempted into golf at the Newport club by Carol Cocker — and also became one of the first two ladies to join the fire service on the Isle of Wight.

Her colleague was Bev Whorwood.

“We went for the interview and decided not to wear dresses or skirts,” Jackie explains.

“That was just as well. We actually had to climb ladders and carry people up and down the yard!”

She really took to the job and is still at the Newport station.

Meanwhile, on nearby St George’s Down, her love of golf quickly became apparent and she began to do well — winning a few tournaments.

With an initial 36 handicap, this was a great boost for her, but eventually it was whittled down to five and is now at a very respectable seven.

After just two lessons, Jackie decided to struggle through on her own.

Her sporting confidence has grown over the years, but she has always been quite nervous before important games.

Jackie has won the Newport Ladies Golf Championship on several occasions.

Just three years after taking up the game, Jackie and Marie Brown reached the final of the Island Ladies’ Four-Ball Competition.

They lost, but felt so thrilled just to have made the final.

Isle of Wight County Press: Jackie Mouat with Marie Brown when they made the Island four-ball final.Jackie Mouat with Marie Brown when they made the Island four-ball final.

She still plays golf every week with her work colleague, Mark Deacon, one of the Island’s greatest post-war footballers.

Jackie and the Newport firefighters also go on regular golfing holidays to Spain.

Is there still another sporting dream for Jackie Mouat?

“I’d love to do stand-up surfing. I don’t think it will ever happen, but I have just got a paddleboard, so you never know,” she said.

Jackie is very modest and does not like talking about herself, so I feel privileged to have made her break that habit on two occasions, with a 37-year gap in between.

Oh! I nearly forgot. She was once a bellringer at All Saints’ Church, Freshwater.