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Tournament honours Catherine’s memory

More than 150 budding female footballers took to the pitch for a tournament established to honour the memory of former journalist and Exeter City Community Trust operations manager, Catherine Fraser.

This year saw a record 19 teams compete in the tournament, the highest number in its seven-year history. The event took place at Exwick Sports Hub and was supported by Exeter City Women’s player Jess Sandland who refereed the event.

Clyst Vale Community College claimed the top spot after defeating St Peter’s School in the final. The Plate was won by Newton Abbot College, who triumphed over Teign School.

Organised by Exeter City Community Trust, the partner charity of Exeter City Football Club, the annual six-a-side tournament for year seven girls serves as a testament to Catherine’s legacy. Catherine worked at Exeter City Community Trust following her career as a journalist at The Times in London and the Express & Echo locally.

Presentations were made to the winners and runners-up by Catherine’s mother, Glenda Riley, and daughter, Dulcie Fraser. Glenda generously donated funds to establish the annual tournament after Catherine passed away in 2015 from breast cancer.

Jamie Vittles, chief executive of Exeter City Community Trust, said: “Prior to joining Exeter City Community Trust, Catherine was one of the first female sports editors at a national newspaper.

“She was an inspirational role model and was passionate about creating opportunities for girls to engage in football. This tournament stands as a fitting tribute to her legacy. We are grateful to Glenda for her support in running this tournament and providing this opportunity for the next generation of young female footballers.”

In addition to the Catherine Fraser Memorial Tournament, Exeter City Community Trust runs several programmes to encourage girls of all ages to participate in football. These include sessions for tots from age four, Grecian Girls sessions, girls-only holiday clubs, and Emerging Talent Centres in Exeter and North Devon.

More than 100 players are enrolled in the Girls’ Development Centre for ages nine to 16, with pathways leading to the Exeter College Academy and ultimately to the Exeter City Women’s team.

Teams competing in the 2024 tournament were from St Peter’s School, Clyst Vale Community College, Newton Abbot College, The Maynard School, Shebbear College, Exmouth Community College, Teign School, St Lukes, West Exe and Queen Elizabeth’s School, Crediton

For more information about girls’ and women’s football, visit www.exetercct.org.