Eileen Morrison was a student at Edinburgh University when she first heard about squash.
She was more interested in netball and hockey, but she was intrigued by the people playing a sport which she wasn’t familiar with, in a “peculiar box”.
It was a few years later, when she had moved to Crieff in the mid 1970s, that she discovered her true passion for squash.
Eileen recalls: “Somebody said ‘do you want a game of squash?’, but I wasn’t sure.
“And then I discovered that it was something you could do after the kids went to bed, and because I lived very close to the courts, I started to play.
While balancing her work as a GP and raising her six children, Eileen started to dedicate more time to the junior section at Crieff Squash Club.
Her first steps in coaching came by chance, when a member of the club’s committee handed her a piece of paper which said “coaches’ course” on it.
Over time the junior section at the club would grow to over 40 children attending the sessions each week, and Eileen had a secret weapon in helping the section thrive.
She said: “We had pretty well unlimited court time with the juniors, and they would all come along with their pals.
“I used to buy biscuits, so they came for the biscuits basically, then stayed for the squash.
“Some of the kids wouldn’t get biscuits at home, and when it was custard creams, they would go mad for them.”
Eileen continued to develop her squash coaching skills, and she recalls a coaching exam at Grange Squash Club in 1983, as well as attending coaching courses in Aberdeen and Inverness.
One of Eileen’s favourite moments came in 1995, when she coached a Crieff squash team in the British school’s championship, and they reached the finals which were played in Colchester.
The social side of squash was one of the highlights over the decades for Eileen, who remembers club events and dress up nights fondly.
And she used this aspect of squash to encourage young players to get on court and give the game a try.
She says, with a chuckle: “I would say to the boys and girls, just like it is important to learn to swim so you don’t drown, squash might be important too.
“It’s a game that you might be able to play when you go away to university, college or somewhere else.
“And remember that one day you might meet a nice boy or girl, and they’ll say to you: ‘have you ever played squash?’”
The much-loved coach worked closely with two other coaches to grow the junior section in Crieff, Susan Stewart and Cath Halley.
It was in 1999, when Eileen was diagnosed with leukaemia, that she realised just how strong the friendships cultivated in the squash club were.
Eileen reflects: “I spent four months in Ninewells Hospital, and Susan and Cathy would come and visit me every Monday night, instead of playing squash.
“That’s what made me realise just how important they are as friends, and just how great they are.”
In 2011 Crieff Squash Club moved from the Crieff Hydro to the new Strathearn Community Campus.
As part of the construction of the school, Eileen was involved in a campaign to ensure a swimming pool was added as part of the construction.
When she heard of the plan to build one squash court, she made the case, successfully, for two squash courts to be built.
Eileen said: “You can’t get people to play squash and then build squash courts, you have to have the squash courts and then people will play.”
After almost 50 years of contributions to the game, Eileen was delighted to be presented with the Scottish Squash Services to Squash Award in September.
Nominations came flooding in from players, past and present, who had been coached by Eileen.
With some high profile former students, including Lucy Murchie and Commonwealth Games bronze medallist Rory Stewart, she remembers each of the players she coached fondly.
And even having taken a step back from coaching at the club, Eileen still enjoys dropping in to check in with the many friends she has made over the years.