Over 20 primary schools from across the borough visited Ruskin Drive Sports Village to compete in the first ever Lily Parr Football Festival.
Organised by St Helens Council’s Sports Development team – in conjunction with the Liverpool County FA as part of the national School Games programme – the seven-a-side years 5 and 6 girls’ football tournament saw Newton-le-Willows Primary School crowned champions after overcoming Billinge St Aidan’s in a nail-biting final which saw three penalties saved by St Aidan’s in normal time, before the match was settled on penalties; most of which would have gotten the approval of Lionesses manager, Phil Neville.
Held on the actual birthday of St Helens-born female football legend, Lily Parr – who became the first women to be named in the FA’s inaugural Hall of Fame in 2002 – the football festival also coincided with Girls’ Football Week, a national campaign to get as many girls as possible playing football, and formed part of the St Helens 150 events programme to celebrate the 150th anniversary of St Helens becoming a municipal borough.
Hailing the day a success, Sports Development School Games Officer, Danny Bacon, who organised the tournament, said:
“It’s great to see so many girls showing an interest in football which has helped them recognise the influence a local woman in Lily Parr has had in developing the women’s’ game as we know it today.
“It’s intrinsically rewarding for me to see the girls have so much fun and playing football in the true spirit of the game – and we’re now hoping to make the Lily Parr Festival an annual event, given its immediate positive impact.”
Keep up to date with what’s happening on the St Helens school sports scene by following @StHelensSG on Twitter – or email firstname.lastname@example.org