A LIFE-SIZE statue of St Helens-born Lily Parr, the prolific goal-scoring winger of the 1920s and 30s, will be erected outside Manchester’s National Football Museum in June.

Parr, who died in 1978 aged 73, scored more than 980 goals in her 32 year career and was the first woman to feature in the museum’s Football Hall of Fame in 2002.

Born in 1905, was known for her cannonball shot.

By 14 Parr, who grew up in Pocket Nook, proved a standout footballer at St Helens Ladies and her performances caught the eye of Albert Frankland, manager of the Dick Kerr’s team.

The Dick Kerr team was made up of female workers from a munitions factory and Lily became the star player.

In the 20s women’s games drew crowds of 60,000 and helped raise money for post First World War charities in a brief golden era. However, despite the popularity, opposition arose and the FA moved to ban the game from grounds.

Now, more than a century after the first women’s football match and the creation of more than 100 statues of male players, the first prominent public sculpture of a female footballer will be unveiled next month.

Lily, whose feats have been championed by the Star over the years, died in 1973 of breast cancer and she is buried in St Helens Cemetery.

“We’ve of course been familiar with Lily Parr’s story for many years (she was the first female player to be inducted into our Hall of Fame) and the display of the statue seemed like a fantastic opportunity for us to be able to tell her story more widely."

A spokesman for Manchester’s National Football Museum said: "We already have the largest publicly owned collection of women’s football memorabilia (currently over 5000 objects) and as part of our new strategy we’re committed to increasing the representation of the women’s game within the museum to 50pr cent.

"Although professional women’s football was banned from 1921, the game continued to be played and while the story starts with Lily, this ‘hidden history’ is what we’re keen to talk about in the museum.

"Our aim is to fully celebrate the women’s game in 2021 with a full year of exhibitions, events and activities to coincide with the centenary of the ban and the Women’s European Championship which will be held in England.

"In the meantime for this year’s World Cup there will be new objects on display with a trail aimed at families and our guided tours will focus on the women’s game. We’ve been working with two artists on a series of banners exploring the tournament and our collection.

"These will also be on display to celebrate the competition. As with the men’s World Cup last year, we’ll also be asking our visitors to leave their messages of support for the team.

"The statue has been produced by award-winning Sussex based sculptor Hannah Stewart who produces fine art bronzes for public and private commission. The location for the statue has not been finalised yet but we’ll be reaching a decision on that over the next couple of weeks.”

Following a documentary by Clare Balding in 2017, St Helens Councillor Gill Neal called for a memorial to be erected in Lily's memory.

Marzena Bogdanowicz, the head of marketing for women’s football at the FA, said: “We have come a long way since Lily Parr’s days and she deserves recognition as a true pioneer of the sport,”

“Women’s football is in a very strong place today with the England team helping us to drive participation and interest at every level.

"Lily Parr was the first woman to enter the Football Hall of Fame, an iconic achievement in itself, so it’s only fitting that she takes her place alongside other football legends and becomes the first woman to be celebrated with a statue in her honour.”

Parr played for the Dick, Kerr Ladies, a team comprised of workers at a munitions factory in Preston, Lancashire, which became the most successful women’s team of all time. Parr netted 34 goals for the club in her first season, aged just 14.

The 6ft (183cm) winger, who reputedly had one of the strongest left-footed shots in the game, represented England in the first women’s international game in 1920, when England beat France 4-0 in front of a 15,000-strong crowd.

Female participation in the game surged during the first world war and Parr’s career took off at a time when the women’s game overshadowed the men’s, with millions of fit young men sent to the frontlines to fight.

On Boxing Day 1920, a match between Dick, Kerr and St Helens Ladies at Goodison Park was watched by a crowd of 53,000 with thousands more locked outside. Just a year later, women’s football was outlawed by the FA who deemed it “quite unsuitable for females” – a decision that was only reversed in 1969.