Doncaster footballing icon Gillian Coultard honoured in new national campaign

Belles and Lionesses legend Gillian Coultard MBE has been honoured as part of English football’s latest respect campaign.

By Paul Goodwin
Thursday, 5th May 2022, 11:01 am

A plaque celebrating the 58-year-old’s magnificent career was unveiled at the Eco-Power Stadium this week.

The ceremony formed part of England Football and Nationwide Building Society’s ‘Where Greatness is Made’ campaign which aims to promote mutual respect on and off the pitch and inspire the next generation of footballers.

Thorne-born Coultard was the first women's player to win 100 caps for England and made over 300 appearances for Doncaster Rovers Belles.

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Gillian Coultard MBE has been honoured as part of English football's ‘Where Greatness Is Made’ campaign.

She is one of six England captains, along with Sheila Parker, Carol Thomas, Faye White, Mary Phillip and Steph Houghton, to be honoured with a commemorative plaque in their hometown community, serving as a permanent reminder of their inspirational stories and the importance of mutual respect for all on and off the pitch.

Each plaque includes a QR code that links through to an interactive map and website (www.nationwide-signyoursupport.co.uk) which will feature the stories of each of the captains and shine a light on the communities where their greatness was made.

Coultard said: “I was really excited when Nationwide got in touch with me about my plaque. It was always an honour to wear the captain’s armband for my country and whenever I did, respect is something I always endeavoured to instil amongst my teammates.

"It’s fantastic to be part of a campaign that is championing equality and respect at its core.

"I hope the ‘Where Greatness Is Made’ campaign will highlight that everyone starts somewhere and serves to nurture respect in our next generation of footballers.”

As part of the campaign, a series of videos showcasing the current and former player’s grassroots football heritage will be released by Nationwide in the build-up to the summer, looking at their inspiring stories, the communities they grew up in and the people who inspired them to achieve their goals.

The videos will be hosted by journalist and sports presenter Emma Jones, who recently began fronting Premier Sports Rugby League coverage and knows what it’s like to work in an industry that has traditionally been dominated by men.

Jones said: “I feel honoured that I was asked to be part of what will be such a special campaign. Women’s football and women’s sport in general is going from strength to strength and it’s great to be involved in something that will hopefully inspire a lot of people around the country, not only to play sport but also to dream bigger and to be more respectful to one another. I’m thrilled to be part of telling the inspiring stories of these women and can’t wait to see the positive impact it’s going to have.”

As well as the ‘Where Greatness is Made’ campaign, Nationwide and England Football will be taking a giant flag on tour to local communities and grassroots clubs in the run-up to this summer’s Women’s Euro 2022 tournament in England to collect messages of support and encouragement from across the country. The giant flag will be delivered to the Lionesses ahead of their opening fixture against Austria on July 6.

The building society also plans to give out a series of Mutual Respect Grants worth £1000.

Paul Hibbs, director of advertising and marketing at Nationwide Building Society, said: “We’re delighted to be working with England Football once again to promote mutual respect, both on and off the pitch. At Nationwide, mutual respect has always been a core value to us, so we are incredibly proud to be able to drive such a positive message and promote equality, respect and inclusivity in society.”

James Kendall, director of football development at the FA, said: “Respect is an essential component of football, not just for professionals, but also at a grassroots level and everything in between. Our England captains always lead by example and are a symbol of respect, so it’s only fitting that they drive this positive message forward and help promote mutual respect both on and off the pitch.”