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Diagnosed with a brain tumour almost by accident, Jacky called the tumour ‘Tommy’ and had surgery to have it removed.

Updated: Mar 12

CHAT SESSION 46 with Jacky Howgate

Topic- Who is she? Jacky is resilient, feisty, strong, brave, courageous, lively, and her personal favourite, a bundle of joy.

Catch up and listen to our chat session

Monday 11th March 2024 1pm

Lifelong Learner Jacky started her teaching career in 1990 in Birmingham, UK. She taught French and German in the classroom and Outdoor Education in the ‘Classroom without Walls’. She loved teaching almost as much as she loved Elvis, her favourite singer.

She lived in France and Germany for a year each where she taught English and worked as a chambermaid in a hotel in the Black Forest.

Jacky met her future husband in the school they both worked in, and they married in 1996. Her son was born in 1997 and her daughter two years later in 1999.

In 2004 the family of four visited Australia for a month, spending time in Sydney, Cairns, Adelaide, and Melbourne. It rained every one of the five days they spent in Melbourne and when they went home Jacky told everyone that she could never live in Melbourne because of the weather.

Two years later they landed at Tullamarine on a wet, cold, and windy Melbourne evening. They’d sold their house; their cars and all their worldly possessions were heading towards Australia in a tanker.

They’ve been here ever since. The children are now young adults, more Aussie than British, and Jacky is heading towards a divorce. It wasn’t her choice but two years ago her husband decided that he wanted to separate. It’s been a rough two years.

Jacky worked in three schools in the past 18 years, two private and one government. She was Head of Languages in two schools, and also ran the school Army Cadet Unit. That was some of the best times in her teaching career as she got to ride in tanks, fire guns and get very wet and muddy on assault courses.

In 2018 she was diagnosed with a brain tumour almost by accident. She called the tumour Tommy, and had surgery to have it removed. It left her with some permanent brain damage, and it meant that she couldn’t go back to her previous teaching job.

She had a nervous breakdown and spent a lot of time in a psychiatric hospital during 2019 and 2020. Jacky eventually became suicidal and had lots and lots of Electroconvulsive Therapy or ECT. At about the same time, she started to grow her hair and realised that she had very curly hair. She tells people that it’s because of all the electricity, which may or may not be true.

As part of her recovery, she started a ladies dipping and swimming group called the Mornington Morning Mermaids, and she took on the voluntary role of Regional Manager for the Chatty Café Scheme. Both kept her busy and helped improve her mental health.

She got hooked on swimming and now swims 5-6 days a week. She doesn’t mind swimming in a pool as it’s good for lap swimming, but she LOVES swimming in the Bay. Every day is different, and she loves the variety. Some days she swims in the still, clear water and other days she gets to jump in the waves. She swims all year round, usually with a wetsuit in the winter. As a teenager Jacky was scared of fish but now she loves to follow the tiny fish in the water or wave at the rays as she swims over them. The beach and the water are truly her happy place. She generally swims alone and often stops to float on her back and have a quick chat with God.

Jacky started going back to church in early 2022 after a 31-year gap. She found Connect Church a few months ago and now has her very own church family there. Saturday evenings are at Frankston and Sunday mornings in Mornington. There’s also the pre-school music play and the Traditional Service, both on Thursdays so she gets to mix with young and old.

One of her best friends in the UK encouraged her to write a book about her recovery from depression and she discovered a new passion for writing. She’s working on various versions of her book right now, dabbling in some poetry and attending as many workshops as possible to learn how to be a writer. She loves sitting at her desk in her writing nook and tapping away on her computer. Jacky can’t touch type, so she makes lots of mistakes, but is used to correcting student work so it’s not too hard.

Jacky loves dancing and has tried ballroom, salsa, and a little bit of rock ‘n’ roll. She learnt Spanish for a year and is planning on learning Italian this year. She misses her old teaching career, but has learnt to be grateful for a second chance at life and is determined to make the most of every day.

She struggles to accept compliments and so when she looks in the mirror, she thinks of the words that friends, family, and her psychologist have used to describe her: - resilient, feisty, strong, brave, courageous, lively, and her personal favourite, a bundle of joy.

Her favourite Elvis song is ‘If I can Dream’ and her favourite song of all time is ‘Shout to the Top’ by The Style Council as it reminds her to never give up.


My hope is that when you’re looking at yourself in the

‘The Daily Mirror’




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'The Daily Mirror' acknowledges Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as the Traditional Custodians of the land and acknowledges and pays respect to their Elders, past and present.


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