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Student takes centre stage at women’s football festival

Posted on 2 March 2015

Third year Psychology student Ellie Whittaker is taking to the stage to support a major women’s football festival - and raise money for Marie Curie Cancer Care.

Ellie (left) playing in the UYWAFC 1s vs Leeds University 2s game earlier this year
Ellie, who is president of the University of York Women’s Football Club (UYWAFC), is one of the keynote speakers at the national Women’s Football Festival hosted this year by the University in the Ron Cooke Hub on Friday 6 March.

The event, organised by British Universities and Colleges Sport (BUCS), also includes football coaching sessions for over 100 local school girls and students with women’s super league players, York City LFC and University coaches.

The Festival will celebrate the growing popularity of women’s football and highlight the role of women in leadership. It also aims to raise funds for Marie Curie Cancer Care – a charity Ellie has close links with following the loss of three family members to cancer last year.

Passion for football

At the festival, Ellie will explain how she combines a passion for football with fundraising for Marie Curie. She will be joined on the festival platform by fellow speakers Olympic paratriathlete Clare Cunningham and Jo Drapier from Sport England who will talk about the organisation’s “This Girl Can” advertising campaign which aims to encourage more women and girls to take up sport.

“After losing my nana, cousin and uncle to cancer, I have seen first-hand the invaluable work that Marie Curie nurses do to make the end of someone’s life as comfortable as possible,” said Ellie. “When BUCS announced that Marie Curie Cancer Care was their official charity partner, I knew I wanted to help with the fundraising effort through my involvement with university sport and in particular, football.”

Recruitment drive

Ellie led a recruitment drive which doubled the size of the University women’s club by attracting over 50 new players. “This was part of a national pledge by BUCS to donate £1,000 to Marie Curie if 3000 new players took up women’s football across the UK. We were incredibly successful at York and our efforts did not go unnoticed by BUCS who granted us the privilege of hosting the football festival event.”

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