Young Lioness Erin Duffy was recognised at the U10 Whitehaven AFC Lionesses Presentation last night by winning the Whitehaven News Special Achievement Award for being truly inspirational.
The Whitehaven News who have supported the growth of the Whitehaven AFC Girls teams for a number of years, kindly donated an award a number of years ago to recognise one girl from all the girls teams within the club each year who has went above and beyond, lived by our values or been inspirational. Previous winners have represented the Club brilliantly and it is an award we are very pleased to have and be able to award. Each year Lead Coaches in the Girls teams either nominate players themselves, or take nominations from parents, players, supporters or anyone from outside the club that contacts us regarding a girl within our club. The lead coaches then discuss and select one girl to win the award, which is always a very difficult decision due to so many great nominations.
This year the girls involved made it extremely hard to choose and all of them would’ve made worthy winners in any other year. However this year, there was a special girl who stood head and shoulders above everyone.
This U10 Lioness was 9yr old this season when she was given some of the worst news you could possibly get a child really early on the season. She was told her dad had cancer, all cancer is horrible and everyone’s nightmare and this was no different and was really bad cancer, the type that takes a lot of medication and care and a very serious operation.
Erin leading a cake sale fund raiser at her school for Macmillan!
Below is part of the lovely cake stall Erin and her friends did!!
This girl joined the club around 24 months ago, totally raw, no football background, just wanted to be with her friends, but she has developed into one of the best players within the team due to her character and hard work. This girl knew how much her Dad enjoys her playing football, and how much she makes him proud playing and having fun and so even though this girl was going through the toughest time of her life, she loved football and wanted to make her Dad proud. So rather than hide away, she put on her kit, laced up her shoes, grabbed a ball and came training and to every game. Not just 2 or 3 times a month, no, this girl has a 100% attendance at training.
Erin taking a lead role in a cake fund raiser at school for MacMillan with her friends!
Her dad had to have a very serious operation just after Christmas, at the time of this, the team Erin played in had their WCYL Futsal Finals coming up, once again, she knew that her Dad would want her to play. This was a really hard time for the family, her Dad was in the North East having a really difficult operation but he wanted his daughter to try and enjoy the thing she loved the most and be with her friends, football, and that girl showed bravery many adults wouldn’t........... or couldn’t and she turned up as wanted to help the team and also make her dad proud. She wanted to do everything she could and not let him down, not that she ever could.
Erin playing bravely playing in the WCYL Finals!!
Over the season, we have had times where it became to much for her and she needed a little 5 minutes to compose herself, but she would put herself back together and dust herself down and carry on, with her team mates supporting her.
She didn’t just do this though, she took a leading role of a fund raising event at her school for Macmillian and raised a lot of money to help them, and she is wanting to do further charity work with her football team to raise money in the future that her team will 100% back.
Her coach Rob Campbell said ‘I’m really chuffed to bits for Erin to be recognised this season for being truly inspirational. As a coach you just never know what qualities the next player coming into the team brings, or what journey you go on with them, you aren’t just their coach, you know their family and share in their successes, but sometimes you also have things more serious happen. I’m incredibly proud of Erin this season, she is a true inspiration to me, her team and all the parents and I also know all the coaches involved in selecting her. To do what she has done this season when she’s had that to deal with is incredible, especially for a girl at such a young age. She’s a great girl, so well mannered, polite and a good friend to all her team mates, and always smiling and wanting to have fun, really proud to call her one of my players.
I know her Dad is a lot better now and I’m so pleased he has fought this horrible thing and come out the other side smiling, he’s a class act and always supports his daughter positively at football as well as the whole team and it’s a pleasure to have him and all his family involved with the team. Erin is very deserving of the award and so pleased she has had a nice ending to a difficult season’
Erin and friends donating money to The Henderson Suite!!