A VETERAN golfer celebrating her 80th birthday says the sport was her salvation after the death of her husband.

To mark her birthday Joan Hassall got into the swing with a special round of 18 holes at Padeswood and Buckley Golf Club.

The former Ladies’ Captain and member of Old Padeswood Golf Club gave up the sport she loves to care for her husband, John, while he battled diabetes but after his death nearly four years ago from a heart attack she returned to the course on the insistence of friends.

Joan, of Penyffordd, near Buckley, said: “Since I lost my husband golf has been my salvation.

“I did give it up to look after him. After he died I had to do something so I went back to it which was through my friends, especially Marion.

“They told me to pull my socks up and get on with it. You can go and play and forget about all your worries.”

During her birthday on Wednesday Joan competed in the club’s Veteran Cup competition.

She said: “I enjoyed my birthday round and the day before all my friends took me for lunch.

“I have been playing for 28 years and I thoroughly enjoy it. I have always loved it and enjoyed my time at both clubs.

“I watch a lot of golf on television but it gets boring. It is much more fun playing.”

Earlier this year Joan came second in the Lady Captain’s Day competition.

She said: “It was brilliant. I was surprised.

“It was one of those days when you could hit a ball off a chimney pot and win.”

Friend Marion Owen, of Broughton, a former captain at Old Padeswood Golf Club, said: “I have known her for more than 20 years and she has been playing golf for about 30 years. She really enjoys it.”

And Jean Jones, lady captain at Padeswood and Buckley, said: “Joan came second in this year’s Lady Captain’s Day and lowered her handicap, which is a real achievement. She must be one of the oldest players to place in the competition.

“Joan is well liked and a respected member of the club.”