Photo: Jean Elliott (back row, third from right) with the 1971 Lionesses and One Show presenter, Jasmine Harman
Jean, who has worked in the warehouse team at Deliver Net for over 10 years, played in the sweltering heat of Mexico City, but the opponents on the pitch weren’t the only challenge for those first Lionesses, as Jean explained: “We were the unofficial England team as we weren’t recognised by the FA or FIFA, so we had to keep it all a bit hush-hush before we flew out there. It was a different time. I think you just made less of a fuss back then.”
Despite being Yorkshire born-and-bred, Jean’s footballing career began in Bedfordshire. “I was 19 and in the RAF, so I moved around a bit. I was stationed at Henlow in Bedfordshire at the time. The daughter of a man there played for a local team and asked me if I wanted to join, so I did.”
That team was Chiltern Valley Ladies, run by Harry Batt and his wife. Batt’s vision was to create a national women’s team and raise the profile of women’s football. He set about assembling the best team he could and secured an invitation to the next Women’s World Cup in Mexico.
“We travelled to Italy for a friendly before the tournament. When we finally got to Mexico, it was so hot we had to take salt tablets. I remember going to the Mexican pyramids and spending time on the beach. We stayed in the same hotel as the men’s team did the year before in the 1970 World Cup.”
For a teenager who’d rarely played in front of more than a handful of spectators, the vast stadiums came as a shock. “I’ll never forget walking out onto the pitch with 90,000 spectators cheering. It sent shivers down my spine. We carried a Union Jack out with us. When the national anthem played, it got me, I shed a tear. I still do when I hear it now.”
The Lionesses were in a group with hosts Mexico and Argentina. “That first game was brutal. We got hacked to bits. One girl suffered a broken leg and I got a boot in the ribs and got knocked down.”
Despite losing both group games and a subsequent fifth-place play-off again France, the England ladies were popular with Mexican fans: “Everywhere we went we got mobbed by fans, photographers and people waving flags and banners. We had a police escort and translators with us the whole time.”
After the tournament, Jean continued playing with Chiltern Ladies for a few years, before moving north to Yorkshire in 1976, still with the RAF: “That was the last time I saw any of the girls until the reunion. By the time I’d moved up north, I’d pretty much given up playing and there were fewer women’s team up here. Seeing everyone again was brilliant though – I turned up and just got a massive hug off them all”.
Despite being part of a pioneering team, none of Jean’s co-workers knew of her Mexican adventure: “I’ve always been quite shy, so whilst I enjoyed playing and had a brilliant experience, I didn’t really like the limelight and I still don’t. I enjoyed playing. It was so exciting to go out onto the Azteca stadium. I remember all the kids cheering.”
Nevertheless, Jean was recently persuaded to talk at a Skipton primary school: “I took my medal in and spoke to the kids. I wanted to explain to them, the girls especially, that if they enjoy playing a sport, they need to stick at it, whether it’s football, darts, cricket or rugby. It’s important and more and more sports bodies are recognising the women’s game.”
Jean has been following the current Lionesses progress at the Women’s World Cup in France and will be cheering them on: “It would just put the icing on the cake if the Lionesses win the world cup this year, almost 50 years after we played. We’ve had a video message from them, thanking us for what we’d done for the sport all those years ago, which was really nice.”
Jean will be appearing on the One Show at 7pm on Wednesday 26th June.
The award recognises over 13 years of successful distribution partnership between the two companies.
Outstanding Customer SupportPresenting the award, WarwickSasco Managing Director, Darby Booth, praised Deliver Net’s position as a premium distributor. He also acknowledged “the professionalism and outstanding customer support provided by Deliver Net”.
Deliver Net chairman, Tim Lockett, said “We’re very pleased to accept this award. WarwickSasco epitomises what Deliver Net insist upon from our supply partners: dedication, professionalism, quality and service.”
WarwickSasco has been at the forefront of medical plastic production for over forty years and still proudly manufactures from its facility based in the West Midlands.
If your organisation uses medical or janitorial products, speak to Deliver Net today on (01756) 706050 to discuss what we can do for you.
At the special event, which will be hosted by Television Presenter Matt Baker, 34 team members will have their hard work celebrated across 17 categories ranging from Care Home Team of the Year to Care Chef and Dementia Care Champion.
At the start of the year, each finalist was nominated by team members, residents, and relatives from the care groups 17 homes and later interviewed by senior Hallmark executives and their category sponsors, including Deliver Net.
Hallmark Care Homes Operations Director Cheryl Wanklyn said: “We are looking forward to recognising our team members who have demonstrated excellence within their field of work. The awards evening is the perfect opportunity to recognise and award those particular employees who go above and beyond and are outstanding in their everyday roles.
“I am sure that a fantastic night will be had by all who attend the ceremony and I would like to give huge thanks to one of our main category sponsors, Deliver Net who assisted us to judge our amazing finalists.”
Deliver Net Managing Director Simon Holt added: “It’s a real pleasure to be involved in recognising the dedication and skill of Hallmark’s staff. The awards dinner will be a fabulous night and all the nominees and colleagues deserve our thanks and support for the work they do.
“Our customers deliver great care and support to over 60,000 care home residents every day, all across the UK, and we are very proud to play our part in making this happen”
We’ve spent many months preparing our business for the upcoming changes to data protection law – the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR). The new regulations are designed to give individuals a greater understanding and say over what data is collected about them, by whom, for what purpose and for how long.
We’ve always strived to be as transparent and respectful about data security and privacy and our new privacy statement reflects this. We’ve tried to keep our privacy statement as ‘jargon-free’ as possible and you can read it in full, here: http://www.delivernet.co.uk/privacy-policy/.
We’re also proud to have completed the National Cyber Security Centre accreditation programme – ‘Cyber Essentials’ – a Government endorsed scheme which ensures we have protected our business against the most common cyber threats, whilst also demonstrating our commitment to cyber security.
If you have any questions or concerns at all, please contact us directly and we’ll do our best to help.
The hospice, run by the Sue Ryder charity, provides clinical, emotional and practical support to people facing terminal illness.
As well as having rooms for up to 18 patients receiving palliative care, the service also supports hundreds of people in the local community, through out-patient clinics, bereavement support, physiotherapy and counselling.
Senior Hospice Fundraiser, Paula Guanaria, explained why donations are so vital: “The service we provide is totally free for our patients and their families. We need to raise around £11,000 each and every day in order to keep those services going, so we’re delighted to accept this generous donation from Deliver Net – it will make a huge difference.”
If you or your company would also like to support Wheatfields Hospice, there are lots of ways to help: donate your time as a volunteer, run a sponsored event or join the ‘Wheatfields 40 for 40 Club’ – which aims to raise £40,000 to mark the 40th anniversary of the service.