ENGLAND footballer Keira Walsh, who went to school in East Lancashire, has been praised by councillors for her role and her team’s success in the Euros 2022.
Plans were confirmed just last week for a new Rosso bus named after Lionesses star Keira, which will serve Rossendale.
Walsh, aged 25, was named Player of the Match in the Women's European Championships final at Wembley last month, where England beat Germany to win the Lionesses first major tournament and England's first senior major win since 1966.
After picking up the sport at Rochdale-based Pearson Juniors, Walsh came through the youth system at Blackburn Rovers before then moving to Manchester City - and this week has been linked with a possible move to Barcelona.
Speeches highlighting Keira Walsh and the England ‘Lionesses’ were made at this month’s full meeting of Rossendale Council.
Council leader Cllr Alyson Barnes said: “I want to pay tribute to the England women footballers and say how much we all enjoyed their tremendous success.
"Keira Walsh went to Haslingden High School and Bacup & Rawtenstall Grammar School Sixth Form. We are very proud of her. She’s a Rochdale lass but she has various connections with Rossendale.”
Mayor of Rossendale, Cllr Anne Cheetham, added: “I understand a special bus will be named after Keira Walsh, which will operate on main routes in and out of Rossendale.
"There will be an interesting surprise for the first person who sees the bus. which will be coming into service soon when the livery is finished. So keep your eyes peeled.”
Cllr Barnes added: “I suspect Kiera’s name might also be used in future when the new high school is built.”
She also highlighted a number of other football and sports developments in Rossendale.
These included work with the Football Federation and the FA on new artificial pitches.
Elsewhere refurbished tracks at Marl Pits Leisure Centre will reopen soon, she said, and the refurbishment of park tennis courts with the Lawn Tennis Association is on the agenda.
Funding for some sports facilities may come from the government’s new UK Shared Prosperity Fund, which has replaced the old EU Regional Development Fund since Brexit, Cllr Barnes added.
Last March a council survey of outdoor sports spaces said the area does not have enough outdoor football pitches for the district’s 14 football clubs and 107 teams.
In youth football, there are not enough outdoor pitches for 11-a-side and nine-a-side matches, councillors heard.
In netball, the area’s women’s league wants to create an extra nine teams. But ambitions were hampered by a lack of courts along with other factors. Rugby teams also faces a lack of outdoor pitches, councillors were told.
However Rossendale cricket, athletics, bowling and tennis clubs seemed to have enough outdoor grounds, tracks and greens, the report added. But some grounds are poor quality.