Yorkshire’s first sportswomen’s event was hosted by Hull City Ladies Football Club at Sewell Group Craven Park on Saturday, 24th June.

The evening celebrated women in sport and included guest speakers: former England football player, Carol Thomas BEM and former rugby league star Danika Priim.

Marking a significant milestone in UK sports history with their inaugural Sportswomen’s Dinner, brought together athletes, business leaders, and sports enthusiasts to honour the achievements of women in sports and inspire the next generation of talent.

The event showcased the Club’s commitment to empowering women in sport and promoting gender equality across the sporting world.

Highlights from the evening were the riveting talks delivered by two influential figures in sport – Danika Priim and Carol Thomas BEM. Danika Priim, a trailblazing sportswoman known for her achievements in rugby with Bradford Bulls and Leeds Rhinos. Danika captivated the audience with her inspiring journey from a local athlete to a commentator on Sky TV as well as BBC TV and radio. Priim’s resilience, determination, and unwavering spirit left an indelible mark on all in attendance.

Also working as a teacher, Danika has achieved every major honour in the domestic game and represented England in a Rugby League World Cup. Regarding the financial aspect of women’s rugby, she shared: ”Women don’t play rugby for the money as there isn’t much financial support in our sport. We do it because when we step into a stadium, all our troubles disappear. It’s incredibly invigorating and exciting.”

Danika also expressed her thoughts on the progress of grassroots sport, stating: “Grassroots sport is advancing rapidly. Although we still have a long way to go, women’s sports are receiving more attention. I have the privilege of commentating regularly, and while I initially perceived it as tokenism, it has become clear that having a platform is incredibly important.”

Reflecting on her retirement from rugby in 2021, Danika admitted:”I don’t miss playing rugby, but I do miss the camaraderie and team spirit. That’s why I remain involved with rugby as much as possible.”

Renowned as a pioneer of women’s football, Carol Thomas BEM, graced the stage at the event, imparting profound insights and sharing her valuable experiences. With her exceptional contributions to the sport, Thomas motivated the audience to strive for excellence and push the boundaries of what is achievable in sports. She shared her remarkable journey, stating:

“I consider myself fortunate to have received the unwavering support and backing of my parents. From a very young age, I followed in the footsteps of my father and brothers. As soon as I could walk, I was kicking a ball, and it became my steadfast passion. Interestingly, I excelled beyond my male peers at school and at the age of 11, I embarked on my journey by playing for local teams, alongside teammates and opponents who were more than twice my age.

“I undertook the first-ever women’s football coaching course, which further solidified my dedication to the sport. Subsequently, I was selected for the England Team, undergoing rigorous training at the prestigious Lilleshall National Sports Centre. Eventually, I made my mark as England’s second-half substitute, and the rest, as they say, is history.

“Our collective aspiration as women footballers was simple—to be acknowledged and recognised for our abilities without being compared to our male counterparts. We sought equal footing and the opportunity to carve our own path.”

Carol Thomas BEM’s remarkable journey and her tireless efforts to promote women’s football continue to inspire generations of athletes, challenging societal norms and breaking barriers along the way.

Danny Johnson, Managing Director of Hull City Ladies FC said:

“The Sportswomen’s Dinner serves as a platform to recognise the outstanding accomplishments of female athletes and to shed light on the challenges they face in their respective fields. We aimed to start a dialogue and promote initiatives that empower women in sports, ensuring equal opportunities and fair representation.

“In addition to her personal success, Carol Thomas BEM has paved the way for women and girls to play football. During the 70s and 80s, Carol funded her career, from travelling expenses to medical bills. Sadly it took almost four decades for things to improve and when Danika injured her anterior cruciate ligament and paid for private surgery herself, her following campaign for women’s rugby to insure players so that when inevitable injuries happen, they are funded and treated as early as possible to enable them back into play.”

“It signifies a new era for women in sports. Hull City Ladies Football Club remains steadfast in its dedication to championing equality and creating opportunities for women athletes to thrive in the Hull and East Yorkshire region.

“We are grateful to Danika Priim and Carol Thomas BEM for sharing their stories and inspiring us all.

“We are thrilled to have hosted the first-ever Sportswomen’s Dinner, certainly in Yorkshire, if not for the whole of the UK. Look out for our next event!”

The Hull City Ladies Football Club extends its heartfelt gratitude to the sponsors and partners who made this event possible. Their support underscores the commitment to adopting a culture of diversity and inclusion within the sporting community.


All photo credits: Kevin Green photography.

For media enquiries, please contact:

Jess Clark, 07722 299461 jess@divineclarkpr.co.uk

About Hull City Ladies Football Club:

Hull City Ladies Football Club is a committed to promoting women’s sports and providing opportunities for female athletes to excel. With a strong focus on community engagement and inclusivity, the club aims to inspire and empower the next generation of sportswomen

Thank you to our Gold Sponsors Aa Global and MJ Quinn.

📧 info@aaglobal.co.uk
📞 01482 308777
📧 enquiry@mjquinn.co.uk
📞 0151 547 8800