Page 55 - Phonebox Magazine June 2024
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Sponsored row nets £5000
Big-hearted – and strong-armed – rowing fans raised more than £5,000 for charity recently in a ‘sponsored row’ in Olney.
The charity fund-raiser, organised by Hannah Fryer of Emberton, was a 24-hour event, including running through a chilly April night on the town’s Market Place. It brought £5,100 from backers to go towards the Olney is Kind charity.
With a rowing machine borrowed from Marc Brown, owner of Tri-Fitness Hub in Olney, participants took it in turns to keep rowing for the full 24 hours without stopping. Anyone could take part – with some rowers, including children, trying for a few minutes, and others going on for much longer.
“We drew up a rota so that everyone could take part,” says Hannah, who works on the OiK committee with organiser Naomi Brock. “There was a really good atmosphere, and we all had a great time. Throughout the night there was a particularly good atmosphere and feeling of togetherness.” Well-wishers kept the rowers fed and watered with donated food, soup and drink and others came to lend support during the day and night.
 It’s girl power in this enthralling play
When you see how popular and successful women’s football has become today, it’s incredible to imagine that girls were discouraged from playing soccer 100 years ago.
And that’s the premise of this delightful play by Benjamin Peel, which featured at Stantonbury Theatre. Not a Game for Girls tells the amazing story of the Dick, Kerr Ladies FC football team which, against terrible opposition from the mostly male-dominated establishment, became one of the most successful women’s football teams in Britain during and after the First World War.
Despite the fact that the ladies were banned from playing at grounds and stadiums affiliated to the Football Association, they still managed to draw huge crowds at matches in Britain – they even played against France for what was to become the first women’s international fixture.
As factory workers at the Preston firm Dick, Kerr & Co, the women formed a team which became almost unbeatable for nearly 50 years, playing charity matches to raise money for injured servicemen.
And this play, charmingly directed by local theatre producer Rosemary Hill, explores not just the success of this gutsy women’s team but of the general taboos and discrimination, prevalent in that tough, post-war period.
As the team progress on the pitch and continue their winning run, it’s not just about being the best in their sport that’s the goal. They also have to overcome poverty, prejudice, and the shock and horror of war with the effects it has on returning soldiers.
Ignoring social attitudes from men – and women – the players dig deep and win games, proving that football is a game for everyone in the way we now understand it.
With a local cast, professional crew plus a student production team from Milton Keynes College, this well-crafted play uses a mixture of real-life and fictional characters and blends drama, songs, and choreographed games to capture the spirit and camaraderie of Dick, Kerr Ladies FC. Not A Game For Girls is an uplifting story, heart-warming and with highs and lows throughout and was beautifully acted and produced by the local cast.
Here we row (l to r): Daniela Bove-Pope, Naomi Brock, Hannah Fryer, Yvette Austin
    June 2024 | Phonebox Magazine 55

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