Grass Roots to Glory – “Our Story So Far” exhibition opens

Grass Roots to Glory – “Our Story So Far” exhibition opens
Image loaned by Val Hoyle to Clifton Park Museum’s Grass Roots to Glory: Our Story So Far exhibition.

An exhibition showcasing the heritage of women’s football will open at Clifton Park Museum on Saturday 18th June.

Clifton Park Museum launches its new temporary exhibition Rotherham UEFA Women’s EURO 2022 presents: Grass Roots to Glory – “Our Story So Far” at Clifton Park Museum on Saturday 18th June 2022, 10am to 3pm.

The exhibition will open with a family friendly event. Many creative activities will be provided including making unofficial and personalised merchandise with artist Alistair Flindall or creative writing with Becky from Story Trails.

Rotherham is one of the nine UEFA Women’s EURO 2022 host cities taking part in a project funded by the National Lottery Heritage Fund to uncover the hidden history of women’s football in a summer of celebration of the game, its players and communities.

Rotherham women’s football story has been researched and archived for the first time. Prior to this project, Clifton Park Museum had limited visibility of women’s football in Rotherham within its archives and collections.

Councillor David Sheppard, Cabinet Member for Social Inclusion, said: “It is wonderful to see how Clifton Park Museum is collecting and preserving the inspiring stories of local women who have played football in Rotherham over the last 50 years.

“This exhibition is an important part of the cultural programme, for both local communities and visiting fans to be involved in the UEFA Women’s EURO 2022 in Rotherham.”

Through research in the newspaper archives we can now reveal that the earliest recorded local football match was in 1893 and the local munition workers played their first match at Millmoor on 24 March 1917.

The oral history project has uncovered nine individual stories of passionate local women who started in the grassroots of Rotherham playing fields and went on to play in the international pitches of European Championships or had a career within in the football industry.

Their story begins in 1969 when ‘Kilnhurst Shooting Stars’ was formed and eventually became known as Rotherham United Women Football Club in 2003. Val Hoyle was a founding member of ‘Kilnhurst Shooting Stars’ and played for the club for 30 years. She took on a variety of different roles including coach, manager, chair and now club secretary. For her services to the grassroots game, she received a lifetime achievement award in 2009.

‘Kilnhurst Ladies’ have produced other pioneering players; Annette Harvey was one of the first women referees with a qualification recognised by the Football Association. Rotherham has also produced several international players including Cathy Hamstead, Vicky Exley and Leanne Hall.

Films and audio stories from the women can be found in the exhibition as well as objects loaned from them and football shirts representing women’s and girls’ football teams across Rotherham.

The exhibition also includes loans from National Football Museum in Manchester including a Panini official licensed sticker album for the FIFA Women's World Cup Germany 2011 and an England women's national team shirt worn by goalkeeper Leanne Hall in a 2004 match against Germany and signed by the team.

Rotherham is one of nine UEFA Women’s EURO 2022 host cities, taking part in a fantastic range of community events and celebrations this summer. This exhibition is part of the cultural programme for Rotherham and will be on during the full tournament period, for more details on the programme go to:

Published: 15th June 2022