Tributes to top golfer Jean

WATSON BIT
WATSON BIT

FAMILY and friends paid tribute this week to Jean Watson who has died aged 88 after losing her year long battle with cancer.

The Bearsden octogenarian was a well known golfer in the district and had been a member of Douglas Park Golf Club for more than 50 years.

She represented the Dunbartonshire and Argyllshire County Golf Team for an uninterrupted 25 years playing at the highest level and representing Scotland in the Women’s Veterans matches for more than a decade and in her latter years she gave much back to the sport by teaching the younger generation.

Belle Robertson MBE, from Bearsden and a fellow Douglas Park Golfer, said: “I have warm and very happy memory of Jean. She was appreciated with much gratitude of, dare I say it, the ‘old School’ who gave so freely of her time and energy in helping others in the game. Personally I shall remember Jean for all of those things and not least for the game she played with the finest competitive graces, coupled with such skill and sportsmanship. Playing much of her competitive career off a handicap of three, she was especially renowned for a magnificent short game.”

Jean was born in Palmerston Place, Edinburgh to Ella and John Macgill in 1923 – one of four children spending her early years attending St Monica’s School in the city before going on to join her older sisters at St Leonards School, in St Andrews.

She had a tremendous aptitude for sport, taking after her father who was an outstanding rugby player who became president of the Scottish Rugby Union in 1936. Jean used to go along to Murrayfield with her dad for the pre-pitch inspections before international games.

Jean’s golfing prowess came to the fore at Lossiemouth where her family took a holiday house.

Her son John (63) paid tribute to his mother saying: “She was always giving back to the community and this was especially true about her golf. She put back into the sport what she got out of it.”

Elinor Grant, a lifelong friend of Jean and past captain of Douglas Park, said: “She came from a very well-to-do family and they would hire a whole carriage of a train when they went up to Lossiemouth.”

She enlisted as a WREN in 1943 and was posted to Egypt where she met her husband John, a Captain in the 8th Army (Royal Artillery) and a printer and stationer from Glasgow.

Jean spent a year in Port Said doing secretarial work and after the war the couple moved back to Scotland and got married on December 14, 1945 in St George’s West Church, Edinburgh. They made their home in Glasgow’s West End.

They had two children, Susan and John, and shortly after this moved to Bearsden, living for 25 years in Glenburn Road before moving to Norwood Park where they lived for 30 years until John died in 1993 aged 81.

Jean was club champion at Douglas Park on six occasions in 1964, 1967, 1971, 1972, 1977 and 1983 and she won the Scottish Veterans’ Championship Cup in 1974, 1978, 1983 and 1984.

She represented Scotland in 1965 winning a Gold Medal for Scotland at Gleneagles and in 1984 was the Buchanan Castle Club Championship and played in the Senior Ladies’ British Open Amateur Championship at Troon in 1983.

As the handicap secretary of Douglas Park from 1965 to 1995, she would enter all the scores manually, a vast undertaking long before computers came along to help.

In 1979 she was made an Honorary Member of Douglas Park in recognition of services to golf.

Together with her late husband they gifted the prestigious Douglas Park Eagle Mixed Open Foursomes Trophy to the Club, which is keenly contested every year by golfers from all over the West of Scotland.

She is survived by Susan, John and six grandsons, Duncan, Alastair, Angus, Sandy, Fergus and Finlay.

Jean and her husband both agreed that there would be no funerals and their bodies were bequeathed to the University of Glasgow’s Department on Anatomy for the advancement of medical science.

A memorial evening is planned at Douglas Park to take place after the end of this year’s golf season.