A legendary woman footballer from Preston who played for the Dick, Kerr Ladies is to be immortalised in bronze.
It will be the UK’s first ever statue of a female player, in honour of trailblazer Lily Parr, and will be unveiled next month at the National Football Museum.
Lily, an outside left winger who scored over 980 goals in her 32-year career, was reputed to possess one of the most powerful shots in football, and had the ability to score goals from extraordinary angles with a left foot cross drive with immense skill and power.
Historian Gail Newsham who wrote In a League of Their Own! About The Dick, Kerr Ladies said was “thrilled” that Lily was to be honoured in such a way.
“It’s a wonderful tribute to Lily and I’m thrilled,” she said. “I’m sure she would have been dead chuffed if not a little bit embarrassed.
“I hope that it will just inspire other children to get out there and play football.
“A life-size statue of a female football player how good is that.
“People are recognising and standing up and getting noticed. I’m over the moon.”
Lily started her career at Dick, Kerr Ladies FC as a full-back 100 years ago aged just 14. She moved to the left wing in 1921 and scored an impressive 108 goals in her first year in this position.
Her steely determination to be the best footballer worldwide saw her spend hours on her own perfecting the technique of her almighty power kick, as many other legendary kickers have gone on to do.
Gemma Buggins, Mars Brand Director, said: “Lily Parr was the heroine of her time in the sporting world. It’s an honour to be able to recognise her and commemorate the inspirational woman that she was.
“With England’s Lionesses preparing for this summer’s tournament, we hope the unveiling of the first ever female footballer statue spurs them on and gives them the motivation to go all the way!”
Marzena Bogdanowicz, head of Commercial and Marketing, Women’s Football at The FA said: “Women’s football is in a very strong place today with the England team helping us to drive participation and interest at every level. We have come a long way since Lily Parr’s days and she deserves recognition as a true pioneer of the sport.
“Lily Parr was the first woman to enter the Football Hall of Fame, an iconic achievement in itself, so it’s only fitting that she takes her place alongside other football legends and becomes the first woman to be celebrated with a statue in her honour.”