Margaret's Guinness World Record as she still plays squash aged 85
- Credit: SHAUN WHITMORE/BBC
An 85-year-old Suffolk woman has described how she has had a lifelong love of "hitting balls" as she received the Guinness World Record for being the oldest active female squash player.
Margaret Armstong, who lives in Dalham, said her passion for sport first started when she was an eight-year-old growing up in Liverpool and was taught football skills by the Everton players Peter Farrell and Tommy Eglington.
She loved kicking and catching the ball and said the "seeds were sown" for her to move on to other sports, especially games involving hand-eye coordination such as cricket, hockey and tennis.
And she is still going strong as she plays squash twice a week with Moreton Hall Squash Club in Bury St Edmunds.
Even a bad car accident a few years ago, which resulted in her foot being almost completely severed, has not stopped her from playing the sport she loves.
However, her journey to now has not been without its incidents and a few broken windows.
She explained: “I broke a few windows in our street where we used to play out. I used to play cricket in the street and I remember once I smacked the ball and it went through one of my neighbour’s windows.
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“I ran like the wind.”
She also played netball and tennis, but decided to take up squash because of her frustration that her tennis would be affected by bad weather on open air courts.
She joined Northwood Squash Club in London where she received coaching from Egyptian squash player Abou Taleb, three-time winner of the British Open, after he saw her playing.
The former magistrate, who studied philosophy and ethics, also had to battle some outdated attitudes at the time, particularly around women in sport and the "jolly hockey sticks" mentality, but said she was never interested in what people wanted to call her.
She added: “I hope to carry on as long as I can because I still love hitting the ball. I still love that feeling that you get.”