Dick, Kerr Ladies Historian (and biggest fan ever!!)
I am immensely proud of the fact that due to my persistence and passion, The Dick, Kerr Ladies were re-united for the first time in 1992 as part of my football tournament during the Preston Guild celebrations. I was later nominated for the Lancashire Woman of the Year award in recognition of this achievement and was one of the one hundred women who were chosen to attend this prestigious award ceremony.
I grew up in Preston just a stones throw from the Dick, Kerr factory and even as a child I was aware of this legendary women's football team. As a young lass growing up in the late 1950's, early 1960's, I was always out playing football with the lads and as the only girl in either team I can remember hearing comments from passers by suggesting that perhaps I too should have played for the Dick, Kerr Ladies.
Eventually I did play in a ladies team but I had still to come across anyone from the Dick, Kerr Ladies era. However, a chance meeting with former player Brenda Eastwood in 1991 gave me the idea of staging a reunion of the team as part of the International Women's Football Tournament I used to organise, The Lancashire Trophy.
Through meeting Brenda, I got in touch with Joan Burke and Frances Appleby who showed me photographs and old newspaper clippings from the 1940's. I was absolutely gobsmacked at the amount of press coverage they had received and it didn't take long for me to realise that this story was bigger than anyone could have ever imagined. If something hadn't been done then, a wonderful piece of women's sporting and social history could have been lost forever. Many years of research would follow in order to save this incredible story for future generations.
I have made it my mission for these remarkable women to have the recognition I believe they rightfully deserve, both collectively as a team, and individually for their own personal achievements. I am determined to spread the word about the Dick, Kerr Ladies to a wider audience. I sincerely believe these women should become household names ... just like our other sporting heroines such as Paula Radcliffe, Dame Kelly Holmes and Jessica Ennis.
It was due to my efforts that Lily Parr became the first woman to be inducted into the National Football Museum Hall of Fame in 2002, and in November of 2007 Joan Whalley, school girl pal of the legendary Sir Tom Finney, became only the second player from the team to receive this posthumous honour.
As a recognised historian and author of 'In a League of Their Own!': I am available as a public speaker with an extremely well received illustrated talk PRIDE OF PRESTON - THE DICK, KERR LADIES FC. My 45 minute power point presentation reveals rare archive material and brings to life some of the original pioneers of women's football. It is an inspirational account of women in a man's world, and demonstrates the true leadership and teamwork qualities that were essential for them to achieve their unparalleled success. For further details contact: firstname.lastname@example.org