The first statue of a female footballer in the UK has been unveiled on the eve of the 2019 World Cup.
Pioneering attacking player Lily Parr has been immortalised at the National Football Museum in Manchester, 100 years on from her debut for St Helens Ladies at the age of just 14.
She joined the Dick, Kerr munitions factory team in Preston a year later, where she went on to net an astonishing 980 goals across a 32-year career that included overseas tours to France and the US.
Parr also played for Preston Ladies before retiring at the age of 46, having made 833 appearances.
Her incredible record and reputation saw her become the first female footballer to be inducted into the Hall Of Fame at the museum in 2002, and she has now been cast in bronze there by sculptor Hannah Stewart.
Just a few days before the Women’s World Cup, Lily Parr has become the first female footballer to be honoured with a statue.
— Channel 5 News (@5_News) 3 June 2019
The statue was commissioned by FA sponsors Mars as part of the #SupportHer campaign, which is aimed at drumming up extra support for the World Cup, which kicks off in Paris on Friday.
England get their campaign up and running against Scotland on Sunday evening and former captain Faye White said the unveiling of the Parr statue was a case of perfect timing.
Speaking at the museum, she said: “I think it’s a huge moment because it shows the focus on us and the credibility of the women’s game.
“I think it’s great we’re looking at the history and appreciating the history to show where the game has come from and where it is getting to because in the last five years or so there has been so much more interest in the game.”
June Patten, cousin of Parr, officially unveiled the state on Monday and said she would have been taken aback by the level of interest if she were still alive to see it.
“I am very proud and pleased that’s she’s receiving this recognition,” she said.
“Knowing our Lil, her language would be choice and she would think, ‘What the hell’s this fuss about?’ if she saw it. She was very modest about her achievements.
“We as a family didn’t think about her as a footballer, she was just our Lil.”