Cullercoats woman appeals for footballing team-mates

Football-mad Judy Collins is desperately searching for women to join her – 50 years since she made the same appeal through her local newspaper.

Monday, 20th September 2021, 10:49 am
Judy Collins, 67, with her original newspaper clipping from 1971

Judy, now 67, fell in love with football during the World Cup in 1966, but wasn’t allowed to play football at school because she was a girl.

Instead, aged 17, she decided to appeal for players in her local newspaper, the Whitley Bay Guardian.

Now, half a century on from her 1971 appeal, Judy is once again after players to join her – this time at Age UK North Tyneside’s Women’s Walking Football group.

Judy Collins' original newspaper clipping from the Whitley Bay Guardian in 1971.

The new group, which takes place every Wednesday at 10am on the pitch next to Foxhunters Pavilion in Whitley Bay, is open to women aged 50 or older.

Judy said: “Watching the World Cup got me into football, but at school girls weren’t allowed to play which seems crazy now – you see women’s football everywhere in 2021.

“I wish I had been born later so I could fully experience women’s football now and how popular it has become.

“Back when I was young I just played with my brother and his friends and thought it would be nice to have a girls’ team, so I contacted the local paper.

Judy Collins, 67, playing her favourite sport, football.

“I managed to get a few girls together but we had nobody to play against. I can’t believe it’s 50 years later and I’m still struggling for games!”

Judy has so far found it very difficult to spread the word, with just two other women turning up at the most recently formed group.

She is desperate for a kick-about with anybody who is interested in keeping active, and is particularly keen to find the like-minded women who joined her women’s football team 50 years ago.

Judy, who now works as a lollipop lady and school lunchtime supervisor, added: “It has been extremely frustrating not finding anyone! But now the Age UK North Tyneside group is up and running I’m hopeful we can get a few people interested.

“Ultimately, I just want to get as many people together as possible to get together to have fun and keep fit.

“All those ladies I played with all those years ago – if you see this please come along and have a game! I would love to see you again.”

Walking Football is just one of a number of activities run by Age UK North Tyneside with a view to keeping older people fit and active as it can greatly benefit their mental and physical health.

Yvonne Probert, head of charity services at Age UK North Tyneside, said: “The mission of Age UK North Tyneside as a charity is ‘to help older people make more of life’ and we believe that a holistic, person-centred approach is the best way to achieve this.

“Like all physical activities, Walking Football supports individuals to maintain or increase their level of physical activity and by doing this improving their overall health and wellbeing.

“Also as Age UK North Tyneside delivers locally at neighbourhood level, this assists people to remain active and part of their community, hence Walking Football helps in reducing loneliness and social isolation in older adults.”

To find out more about the sessions, call 0191 2808484 Option 0. You can also email [email protected] or head to https://www.ageuk.org.uk/northtyneside/