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Wednesday 5 May 2021

UCLan Publishing scores with books honouring the Dick, Kerr Ladies

University’s independent publishing house publishes books by Dick, Kerr expert Gail Newsham and author Eve Ainsworth

The University of Central Lancashire’s (UCLan) independent publishing house is helping Dick, Kerr Ladies football team expert Gail Newsham share the team’s inspirational story with a new audience.

UCLan Publishing has published children’s book The Dick, Kerr Ladies: Forgotten Football Legends, which tells the story of the most successful women’s football team of all time.

The Preston team set the sport on fire during the early years of the 20th century when it was set up by a group of women working in the Dick, Kerr munitions factory during the First World War. At their peak, the ladies drew crowds of more than 50,000 and raised more than the equivalent of £10 million today for war-related charities before a ban of women’s football by the FA in 1921 then effectively set the women’s game back 50 years.

Gail has made it her life’s work to share the story of these pioneering women and, following her first book In a League of Their Own! for adults, she wants her new book to inspire a much younger audience.

Speaking in an interview with the Lancashire Post, Gail said: “I think it’s the best way to try to change opinions - to tell the true story of Dick, Kerr Ladies which is the history of women’s football.”

"It’s been a joy and a privilege working with UCLan Publishing. Their help and guidance in taking this wonderful story to a younger audience has been second to none. The whole team have been amazing and I couldn’t have asked for more. It’s a dream come true."

Dick,Kerr Ladies expert Gail Newsham

It is the first time Gail, who is an Honorary Fellow of the University, has worked with UCLan’s award-winning publishing house, which has already published work by another Prestonian, New York Times best-selling author AJ Hartley.

Gail said: “It’s been a joy and a privilege working with UCLan Publishing. Their help and guidance in taking this wonderful story to a younger audience has been second to none. The whole team have been amazing and I couldn’t have asked for more. It’s a dream come true.”

Simultaneously, UCLan Publishing is publishing another book on the Dick, Kerr Ladies, also for a young audience, called The Perfect Shot by Eve Ainsworth. One of three books featuring the team, it’s based on the lives of players and other fictional characters with Eve taking advice from Gail to be sure of historical accuracy.

"We're so proud to be publishing these books about our own local history. We can't wait to bring the inspirational story of these women to a younger generation"

Hazel Holmes from UCLan Publishing

In an interview with the Lancashire Post, Eve said: “They fought adversity, they came together. They came from working class families. It's just been so lovely finding out more about these women. I think they should be celebrated more....It's just making sure they are not forgotten. I think it’s an uplifting book.”

UCLan Publishing’s Hazel Holmes said: “We're so proud to be publishing these books about our own local history. We can't wait to bring the inspirational story of these women to a younger generation.”

All of the Dick, Kerr books are available to buy via the UCLan Publishing website.