Lily Parr Football Festival

In 2002, St Helens’ Lily Parr became the first women to be named in the FA’s inaugural Hall of Fame and earlier this year her nephews were presented with a Hall of Fame Plaque to honour her name.

St Helens Council Sports Development team, in conjunction with the Liverpool County FA, have organised the inaugural Lily Parr Girls Football Festival as part of the national School Games programme. Taking place on the anniversary of her birth, Thursday 26 April, the event forms part of the celebrations of Girls Football Week.

Girls’ Football Week [Monday 23 April – Sunday 29 April] is a national campaign to get as many girls as possible playing football. It is a great opportunity to get active, meet new friends and have fun whilst taking part in the national game.

Cllr Sue Murphy, St Helens Council’s Cabinet Member for Libraries and Leisure, said: “It is fantastic that the Sports Development team is hosting this event to recognise the vital role that Lily Parr played in the development of the women’s game, both during and after the First World War. The uptake from schools has already been fantastic with over 20 schools already registered to take part.”

Lily Parr – One of the best women’s football players of all time

Football is a game of two halves but the sport’s male-dominated history only tells half the story. Dick, Kerr Ladies FC – the most successful ever women’s team – formed during the First World War at the Dick, Kerr & Co factory in Preston, Lancashire. Lily Parr from St Helens played for them and was one of the most prolific goal scorers ever.

A hundred years ago, the women’s game dominated the headlines and attracted crowds of up to 60,000.

Women were banned from playing soccer on affiliated grounds in 1921, but that didn’t stop Lily’s teams from raising hundreds of thousands of pounds for charity.

Despite being a chain smoker, Parr played at an extremely high level, helping her teams dominate games. A Preston newspaper reported that Parr had tallied 967 goals out of the team’s total of 3,022 goals, a devastating ratio.

She had a shot so hard she once broke the arm of a professional male goalkeeper. At 6ft tall (1.83m), Lily Parr was remarkable in many ways.

She scored more than 1,000 goals during her 31-year-playing career, according to the National Football Museum. Of those, 34 were in her first season when she was aged just 14.

They were the most successful women’s team in history, playing 828 games from 1917 to 1965. On Boxing Day, 1920, 53,000 crammed into Everton’s Goodison Park to see them play.

Parr died in 1973 of breast Cancer and is buried in St Helens Cemetery.

Lily Parr was the first female footballer to be inducted into the National Football Museum’s Hall of Fame in 2002.


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