I coached soccer in my 70s, says pioneer Chrissie

A PIONEERING football coach from Mirfield has written a book about her extraordinary life.

Chrissie Ward coached youngsters playing for teams at St Aiden’s Church in the 1980s and 90s – when she was in her 70s.

Mrs Ward, now 89, details her exploits in a 100-page autobiography called Chrissie: A LifeWell Lived.

She said of her time running junior teams for children aged 11 to 14: “I was there every Saturday morning with the oranges and loved it.

“I still see some of the boys, who are all grown up now, and they always say they had the time of their lives back then.”

Chrissie, of St Mary’s Walk, marshalled various teams to league and cup success from their base at Crossley Fields Junior School.

She was born in Huddersfield but moved with her family to Mirfield aged seven in the 1930s.

An early formative experience was being sent to Ireland as a youngster to care for an elderly relative.

The outbreak of World War II saw her taken to Norfolk, where she worked on farms in the Women’s Land Army.

Mrs Ward met her husband, Harry, during the war and once it was over they returned to Mirfield to raise a family.

Harry, a railway worker and keen Dewsbury Celtic fan, later developed dementia and died in 2000 aged 83.

Back then there was little support for dementia sufferers or their carers, with Mrs Ward looking after Harry mostly on her own.

She said: “I did take a night off once and paid for a carer to come in. I think it cost £20, which I struggled to afford at the time.”

The book is also partly about how Mirfield has been transformed from village to town in her lifetime.

Proceeds from the autobiography, which is out next month, are for a Catholic missionary group and local charities.

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