Women’s football founder

260. Sheila Rollinson

A trailblazer for women’s football who founded Derby County Ladies Football Club and has dedicated over 35 years to the beautiful game - Sheila's award was presented in the House of Commons by Tracey Crouch MP as England took on France in their opening game of the 2015 Women’s World Cup.

Sheila Rollinson, 68, got involved in grassroots ladies football when she was a teenager in Coventry and founded the ‘Beacon Wanderers’ when she moved to Derby in 1978. In 1990 Sheila joined with Derby County and the Wanderers became the first Derby County Ladies Football Club.

Sheila’s dedication and tireless enthusiasm as well as her ability to partner with others has seen the club grow to seven junior squads and two senior ones. Her inspirational coaching has helped to inspire hundreds of women to keep fit and enjoy sport and meant that generations of women have been able to participate in football, forming lifelong friendships and help make Derby County Ladies Football Clubs one of the most respected clubs in the country.

In the 35 years since she started the club, Sheila has played a central role in the development of women’s football in the Midlands and has held many roles in the Derby league. Today she is still as passionate about making sure everyone has the chance to play football, helping out wherever she can from being welfare officer for all Derby County footballers – from the under-10s to the men’s Championship team – to printing match programmes.

Prime Minister David Cameron said:

“The very existence of Derby County Ladies Football Club is testament to Sheila’s incredible passion and commitment. From Club Secretary to physiotherapist, from refreshments to match programmes, no task is too big or too small. Sheila is a leading light in grassroots football and for almost four decades she has given generations of women and girls the chance to play football in the Midlands.

“So as England kick off their campaign in the Women’s World Cup, I am delighted to recognise Sheila’s service by making her the UK’s 260th Point of Light.”

Sheila said:

“While it’s a great honour for me personally to receive the award, it is also a reflection on how women’s and girl’s football has grown since I started. To see the England team out there in Canada with matches screened live is fantastic for our sport. Then at Derby County Ladies we have girls teams from u10s right through to our ladies team in the FA women’s Premier league. Amazing progress and it makes the hard work worthwhile.”

Maggie Throup MP, Member of Parliament for Erewash said:

“I am delighted that Sheila’s contribution to sport, but more importantly women’s football, has been recognised by the Prime Minister. Sheila is a worthy recipient of this Point of Light Award and a great role model for girls and women alike.”

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