A SERIES of events will take place to celebrate Leigh being a host town for the UEFA Women’s EURO 2022 football tournament.

Arts and heritage events, which have been funded with the support of the National Lottery Heritage Fund and Arts Council England, are already underway on Tuesday, July 5, and there will be plenty of fun in store in the town before Portugal take on Switzerland at Leigh Sports Village on Saturday, July 9.

Fans Festival - what it involves

Meanwhile, 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.

Leigh Journal: A flag is waved ahead of England's opening match Pic: PAA flag is waved ahead of England's opening match Pic: PA

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.

On Friday (July 8,) award-winning artist Emma Smith will head to Leigh Civic Square to create The Supercompensation Cycle, a large-scale visual and participatory art installation, on site for one day only.

It will take place alongside a performance by WigLe Dance performers and a series of life-size holographic motion portraits featuring local residents and women footballers.

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.

'Events will be an inspiration'

Councillor Chris Ready, portfolio holder for culture at Wigan Council, said: “We have a fun-filled arts and heritage programme that will run throughout the summer for residents of the borough to enjoy, as well as paying tribute to the past and present of women’s football.

“These events will be an inspiration to many women and girls across Wigan Borough and will highlight the importance of women’s football and the exciting history that surrounds it.”