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South Tyneside actress and keen local historian Vik Kay will reveal one of football’s best kept secrets when she talks at the Wednesday Heritage Club at the Word, South Shields, on Wednesday (June 13).

The topic concerns Jarra lass Mary Lyons who led the Palmers Munitionettes team to victory in the 1919 Munitionettes Cup at St James’ Park, Newcastle.

Mary was also the youngest-ever England player and goalscorer when, aged only 15, she netted in front of 20,000 people at St James Park as the North of England Munitionettes defeated the Scottish Munitionettes 3-2 in 1918.

Born in 1902, Mary was one of millions of women who entered the workforce during World War 1 and it was from bait-time kickabouts that teams formed and charity matches were played.

Vik explained: “There were dozens of teams throughout the North East between 1917 and 1919 and the two teams that merged as the best were Palmers (Jarrow) and Blyth Spartans Ladies. Mary represented both these clubs, gaining a Munitionettes Cup winners medal with both teams; Blyth in 1918 and Palmers in 1919, the only two seasons the cup was competed for.”

Vik added: “This is an incredible, forgotten story about local working class women, whose matches attracted thousands of supporters.”

The Lyon’s Roar: Football’s Best Kept Secret will take place at The Word, South Shields on Wednesday, June 13, at 2pm. Tickets only £1.50 from The Word. Contact (0191) 424 7788.

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