A prolific attacker renowned for her powerful shooting ability, Lily Parr is considered one of the greatest players of her generation. Her exploits have captured the imagination as a figurehead for women playing football during the time of the Football Association ban.

Lily was born in 1905 in the working-class community of St Helens, the fourth of seven children. It was during the First World War when she and other women seized the chance to play football. By the age of just 15, Lily was coming to prominence with the most successful team of the time: the Dick, Kerr Ladies.

This Preston works team played their first game on Christmas Day 1917. By 1921 they had played 123 games, attracting over one and a quarter million spectators and raising large sums of money for various charities. A clever and technically gifted player, Lily became one of the stars of the team, alongside other top players such as captain Alice Kell and prolific striker Florrie Radford.

Lily was described as having a “kick like a mule”, and once broke a male goalkeeper’s arm with one of her left-foot thunderbolts from the penalty spot.  

In 1920, Lily was part of the DKL team that met St Helens for a Boxing Day match at Goodison Park, the home of Everton FC. Estimates of the crowd vary, but it is likely that around 46,000 people saw the game that day, making it the largest recorded crowd for a women’s game during this period.

Despite the Football Association ban, Lily played on, scoring around 1,000 goals in a career spanning thirty years. During the 1920s and 30s, she and her teammates pioneered international competition and travelled to play competitive football against other teams.

In 2002, Lily Parr posthumously became the first woman to be inducted into the National Football Museum Hall of Fame. In 2019, Mars created the first ever statue of a female footballer in the UK with sculptor Hannah Stewart. 

This superb monument to Lily Parr is on permanent display in the Match Gallery.