Holly and Fran Kirby

Cumberland's Holly walks out at Wembley

One lucky Cumberland girl beat off competition from across the country and won a competition to be a player escort at The SSE Women’s FA Cup Final at Wembley!

Holly plays football in her school (Jericho Primary School) in Whitehaven and her father, Stephen, entered a competition to become a player escort at the SSE Women’s FA Cup when reviewing an SSE Wildcats session. 

Usually spending her time watching her brother play football for Whitehaven AFC U10s, Holly found herself preparing for a day at Wembley where she would be walking out with the players prior to the biggest match in the women’s football calendar!

An excited train trip to London and a retweet from England goalkeeper Carly Telford got Holly and father Stephen in the mood for what would be a memorable day, before a trip around the Fanzone at Wembley enabled the pair to soak up the carnival atmosphere.

Full of nerves, the player escorts were looked after by FA representatives and taken into the stadium for a tour of the changing rooms, before being given the kit, a rehearsal of their duties and lunch.

Holly was to walk out on the Wembley turf with recently crowned Football Writers’ Association Women’s Footballer of the Year and PFA Women’s Player of the Year, Chelsea FC’s Fran Kirby. 

Holly’s dad, Stephen, said: “The mascots met the Chelsea team off the bus and shook their hands. The footballers made them feel really welcome. The players came out to warm up and the mascots sat in their really comfy padded seats in the dugout alongside the players who weren’t playing.”

In front of a crowd of 45,000 at Wembley, Holly was living the dream walking out with the stars of Women’s football before The SSE Women’s FA Cup Final.

Stephen added: “When they all lined up, Fran said ‘do you know where your parents are’ and to give them a big wave. Holly spotted us and she did just that; the only mascot to wave!”

Holly said: “I felt unbelievably lucky to be a part of this spectacular event and to walk out with Fran Kirby was the icing on the cake”

Fran Kirby capped off a fine season, scoring the third goal in a 3-1 win over Arsenal FC to lift the cup with her Chelsea teammates.