Belles legend Julie Chipchase dies after short illness
Doncaster Rovers Belles legend Julie Chipchase has died aged 60 following a short illness.
Chipchase joined Belles as a player in the 1970s and went on to manage the first team for six years.
She also managed Leeds United Ladies for six years and worked with England Women’s U15, U17 and U23 teams.
Chipchase returned to Belles as director of football in 2013 and also sat on the club’s board.
"Everyone at the Belles is saddened to learn of the loss of Julie Chipchase a pioneer of women’s football who passed away on Tuesday morning after a short illness,” said Belles in a statement.
“Julie had performed every role possible at the Belles since joining as a player in the 1970s, including managing the team, and remained director of football and a board member until her death.”
Belles founder and president Sheila Edmunds also paid tribute to her close friend.
“It’s a huge loss to me personally but also to the women’s game - she pioneered the development of female coaches and managers and leaves behind a real legacy,” said Edmunds.
“Chippy and I had a very special friendship both inside and outside football, her heart was in the Belles and she did everything she possibly could for the club. It felt like we were two of the last from the old guard, and our hearts go out to her family.
“She was well liked, loved and respected by everyone she met in football and is an all round Belles legend.
"And it’s not just women’s football - she’s supported and delivered the A licence to some of the best coaches around through her role with the Football Association.”