THE UEFA Women’s EURO 2022 football tournament is underway and anyone from St Helens wanting to join in the celebrations can look to nearby Leigh.

As a host town for the tournament, the area - just a short journey up the East Lancs - is staging fixture, fans festivals and arts events.

The arts and heritage events, which have been funded with the support of the National Lottery Heritage Fund and Arts Council England, and ahead of Portugal take on Switzerland at Leigh Sports Village on Saturday, July 9 a fans festival packed with football fun is being staged.

Fans Festival - what it involves

A Fans Festival will be popping up in Leigh's Civic Square on Saturday ahead of the fixture.

The party will take place between noon and 4pm on Saturday July 9, with further events also at the civic square on Wednesday, July 13 (2pm-6.30pm) Sunday, July 16 (noon to 4pm) and Friday, July 22 (2pm to 6.30pm).

With the town hosting the Netherlands, Portugal, Sweden and Switzerland this summer the free event for all fans will offer:

  • Live music and entertainment
  • Street theatre and spoken word performances
  • Fun family activities including face painting
  • Arts and heritage exhibitions
  • Food and drink
  • Art gallery exhibitions, including UEFA’s Trailblazers exhibition
  • Official UEFA Women’s EURO 2022 partner activities including Starling Bank football-themed activities and face painting.

Arts events

Meanwhile, the arts and heritage programme celebrating the rich history of women’s football will kick off with the UEFA Trailblazers Exhibition at Leigh’s Turnpike Gallery which will showcase a colourful collection of images created by artists from the tournament’s participating nations.

Also at the gallery will be Creating Spaces, a six-week long art project that will invite visitors to work alongside artists to create a EURO-themed exhibition.

St Helens Star: Fans at Old Trafford this week for England's opening game - Pic: PAFans at Old Trafford this week for England's opening game - Pic: PA

Other events include the Women’s EUROS Exhibition at Archives: Wigan and Leigh in Leigh Town Hall. This exhibition will give visitors the chance to discover key moments in footballing history, alongside memorabilia from local footballing legends.

At Pennington Flash on Sunday, July 10 there will be an outdoor event designed by, and for, women. Created by Idle Women, it will be an acoustic performance created with brass and drums.

Women can bring their own drums to join in via warm-up sessions, dance or simply to enjoy the experience of good company, natural surroundings, and live music.