Sir Denis Follows – University of Nottingham Sport Hall of Fame

[Gentle music] Dad was always busy, sport was always part
of our lives. His father was station master in Nottingham at that time and I think that
was why he went to Nottingham. Dad was awarded the Ordo Caliculae which was
always known as the “Order of the boot”. This was presented to him as secretary of
the students union, followed by being President of the union and then Vice President of the
national union of students in 1930-31. He was so used to organising things. For example,
his organisation of the [FIFA 1966] World Cup would have come from some of these conferences
abroad which he attended right from the 30s. I think it gave him a chance to use his abilities
in a way other than his English studies, he was always encouraging other people to diversify
their interest rather than remain single minded. He was always promoting change, improvement. He worked with women in the universities and
I think he never thought about women in a lower capacity role, he would expect women
to be able to rise in a similar way to men. He was so serious about going to football
and seeing what was going on in the crowds, so his life was taken up.
Hopefully women are aware of his role in women’s football. I’ve played football since I was 6, I chose
football because it’s the epitome of a team sport- you do it for each other. Sir Denis follows played a big role in women’s
football and he was the one that legalised women’s football and wrote that letter. The fact that he’s an alumni shows that
anyone can achieve anything. Just because of the fact you are one little students doesn’t
mean that you can’t have a big impact one day. Thank you for doing what you did all those
years ago because I wouldn’t be standing here without it, I think there is definitely
more room for people who aren’t afraid to do what’s different when they know it’s
the right thing to do. He seemed like a happy person but also a go-getter,
if he wanted something he went and got it and if he saw something that wasn’t right
he did everything he could to correct that and I think that takes guts. I think his impact has been huge, having the
national team now being 2nd/3rd in the world, we would probably have never seen that in
1930 when he was a student here. Making his sacrifice and his pledge towards
women’s football 50 years ago, I think really, I suppose im very thankful for this programme
and where women’s football is now. It’s just incredible the difference in that
my granddaughters now are really passionate about women’s sport, yes it’s very very
exciting! I think it’s about to go boom women’s
football at the moment. The next 10 years are going to be really big, year-by-year improvements
so its going to be really good to see from a player perspective. [Gentle music] I think he would be extremely pleased and
proud, because of his connections for so many years with Nottingham that this has happened.
Yes, he would be thrilled. [Gentle music]

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