Stars, coaches and players from the world of women’s football paid tribute to one of the sport’s pioneering clubs last week at the FA Women’s Football Awards, in London.

Dick, Kerr Ladies Football Club was crowned the winner of the ‘Contribution to Women’s Football Award’ at the annual ceremony, which saw the stars of women’s football gather to celebrate a memorable year in the women’s game, from grassroots to national level.

Dick, Kerr Ladies were founded at Preston's Dick, Kerr & Co. munitions factory during World War One, to raise money for wounded soldiers.

The team went on to record a whole series of firsts for the women's game, including having the first female manager and staging the first women's international game – a match against a French team which they won 2-0 in front of 25,000 fans.

They disbanded in 1965, four years before the Women's Football Association was formed, due to a lack of players.

Gail Newsham, who has documented the club’s historic tale in a book entitled ‘A League of Their Own’ was presented with the accolade and hailed it as a testament to the hundreds of women who had never relinquished their footballing dream.

“I am over the moon – as they say in football terms – to accept this award on their behalf, because they were absolutely amazing women,” said Newsham.

“To be remembered and honoured at a women’s football awards ceremony in London, they’ll be looking down being so proud.

“I wish I could bottle the atmosphere out there tonight and sell it, because it was just amazing.

“It was great to be sat on a table next to all these England legends – they’re doing all the things that I wanted to do when I was younger.”

As one of the earliest known women’s association football teams, 2017 marks the centenary of the formation of the Dick, Kerr Ladies.

To celebrate the club’s inception 100 years ago, the first blue plaque dedicated to female footballers is set to be unveiled on the factory wall where they were formed in 1917.

And despite praising the monumental changes that have transformed the women’s game from then until now, Newsham warned there were still obstacles to overcome.

“Women’s football is in a fabulous state, but I still think we have a few barriers to break down. Let’s keep plugging away and breaking down those barriers,” she said.

“I think when – not if – we win the world cup, things will change again. This country loves the women’s team and our girls are going to win it.

“It’s not going to be like 1966 and never winning again, these girls are going to do it time and time again, I’m certain of that.”

For more information and to see all the award winners visit Join the conversation online using the hashtag #FAWomensAwards.