Dick Kerr Ladies into action

Dick Kerr Ladies Football Team photographed prior to their first game on December 25, 1917

Dick Kerr Ladies Football Team photographed prior to their first game on December 25, 1917

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The tale of Preston’s wartime footballing heroines, The Dick Kerr Ladies, features in a new summer programme of events by Manchester’s Imperial War Museum, urging families to be inspired to get fit by the military.

The summer campaign, Fit For Action, will feature many displays, workshops and performances all themed around the idea of wartime fitness.

The museum’s resident group, What A Performance, will be dramatising the stories of those, including the Dick Kerr Ladies, who used fitness and sport to keep active and prepared in wartime.

A museum spokesman said: “This summer, we have an action packed programme of events for family visitors, themed to being ‘Fit For Action’ – using inspiration from wartime past and present to help families keep fit in 2013.

“This includes specially written roaming performances which dramatise stories of war time life and bring history to life for visitors.

“During the First World War, more than 900,000 women worked in munitions factories. Most factories employed a welfare officer to monitor the health, wellbeing and behaviour of their new female work force. Sport, especially football, was encouraged. Matches were played between teams from different factories and a cup competition was established.

“In Britain, many munitions factories developed their own ladies football teams. The most famous of these were Dick Kerr’s Ladies FC in Preston. Founded in 1917, their matches drew large crowds. They continued to enjoy success until women were banned from playing in Football League grounds in 1921.”

The What a Performance shows are on Wednesdays and Thursdays from August 7 to 29, along with many other events. Entry is free. For more details, see the website at www.iwm.org.uk