Preston’s Dick, Kerr Ladies honoured in new rail firm postcards

Posted on - 4th August, 2022 - 7:00pm | Author - | Posted in - History, Nostalgia, Preston News, Preston Railway Station, Proud Preston, Sport, Transport
One of the Dick, Kerr Ladies postcards. Pic: Avanti West Coast

Two rail firms have launched a postcard series as part of an ongoing project honouring the legacy of the record-breaking women’s football team Dick, Kerr Ladies.

The project, created by Community Rail Lancashire (CRL) and Avanti West Coast, aims to raise awareness of the Preston team, supporting young people in Lancashire as they retell the forgotten story of the most successful women’s team in history.

It follows the release of a short film, Granny, commemorating Dick, Kerr Ladies team member Lizzy Ashcroft, and was written and produced by Blackpool-based actress Michelle Crane.

Crane felt inspired by an article about the footballer’s life, penned by Lizzy’s grandson.

Read more: A brief history of the Dick, Kerr Ladies

Joanna Buckley, the community manager at Avanti West Coast, said: “We want to connect young people to opportunities.

“By supporting this great project, they have been able to experience rail travel, learn a part of football and social history and engage with the local community.

“We’re proud to work with Community Rail Lancashire to raise awareness of the Dick, Kerr Ladies amongst local people here in Preston and keep their fascinating story alive, as we want to champion the places we serve and celebrate their heritage.

“As England’s Lionesses prepare for the Women’s Euro Final, we hope this project will spark an interest in women’s football and inspire the next generation to pass on a key part of Preston’s history.”

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To build youth engagement around the short film and document an important part of history in a new way, CRL teamed up with a group of young people undertaking a supported internship programme called DFN Project SEARCH to create a series of specially made postcards.

Delivered in partnership with Lancashire County Council, Preston College and Hft (a national charity providing services for people with learning disabilities), the internship is a transition to work programme for young people with learning disabilities and autism.

Working alongside community artist Karen Allerton, the interns participated in workshops to think up ideas for the postcard designs that celebrate the achievements.

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To help with their inspiration, the young people travelled by train to visit the National Football Museum, where they joined a workshop about the Dick, Kerr Ladies.

They also enjoyed a tour of Preston North End’s stadium, followed by a talk from renowned researcher and author Gail Newsham, who has spent nearly three decades bringing the story of the Dick, Kerr Ladies to a larger audience.

Six unique postcards were produced – with the artwork designed to engage and encourage more people to take notice of the team’s importance in Preston’s football and social history.

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The team was formed in 1917 at the Dick, Kerr and Co Ltd munitions factory and fought against the ban on women playing on the Football Association’s pitches.

They continued to play matches, raising money for charity until 1965. 

As part of the initiative, funded through Avanti West Coast’s Community Project Fund, the young people will distribute the postcards by handing them out to passengers at Preston station.

They will also write and deliver the cards to care home residents and members of the community to spark conversations and support those who may be experiencing loneliness.

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And CRL will give them to school, college, and community groups.

Katie Douglas, Accessibility and Inclusion Officer at Community Rail Lancashire, said: “Community Rail Lancashire wishes to be a bridge between the rail industry and the communities they serve.

“With a particular emphasis on developing rail confidence amongst younger people, it has been an absolute privilege to work with DFN Project Search.

“Their enthusiasm to learn about this important part of history and take part in a creative workshop has resulted in a set of postcards that they should be very proud of.

“In the words of one young person, ‘I felt really inspired as I couldn’t believe how much history there was about the Dick, Kerr Ladies, and I liked that we got to build more independence by catching the train’.”

Read moreSee the latest Preston news and headlines

What are your thoughts on the postcards? Let us know in the comments below.

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