THE Lionesses took to the Wembley turf which the volunteer groundskeeper of Acton Ealing Whistlers FC helped prepare on Friday.

Tony Hesketh has tended to Whistlers’ Hillcrest Road pitches for more than a decade and can now add England’s home ground to his CV.

He won a competition run by the Football Foundation, a charity funded by the FA, Premier League and the Government.

“It was an amazing experience, getting to put up the goals, mark out the lines and speak with the grounds staff,” he said.

Tony was selected at random from users of PitchPower, the Foundation’s app for inspecting and improving grass pitches, as part of its Get Your Pitch Match Fit campaign.

He attended Friday’s game against the Netherlands and was excited to watch players compete on a field that he helped prepare.

Wembley grounds manager Karl Standley advised him and commended the initiative for grassroots groundskeepers.

“Having a quality playing surface is vital, whether you’re playing in the World Cup final or Sunday League with your friends,” he said.

“The grassroots game couldn’t function without volunteer groundskeepers giving up their time for clubs across the country,” he said.

Whistlers’ ground is one of 11,000 natural grass pitches that have received Foundation investment since 2000, with a £54,000 grant helping Tony to improve pitch quality.

“We’ve not had to cancel any games so far this year,” he said before the weekend.

It allows 220 young people to enjoy their football in Whistlers’ green and white.

The grassroots club offers a sense of community, too. Mr Hesketh’s two sons have made firm friends during their time at the club.

A further £21m per year will be invested as the Foundation aims for 20,000 good quality grass pitches by 2030.