In a quiet village in the North York Moors, a solitary white football goal stands in a small field next to a children’s playground.

Rust is creeping up the posts, the net is sagging a little and the grass has been worn bare in the goalmouth.

It’s about as far away from the pristine pitch and glittering floodlights of Wembley Stadium, but it’s where it all began for England women’s football star Beth Mead.

The Northern Echo: The goalposts where an England star first started honing her skills Picture: Alexa FoxThe goalposts where an England star first started honing her skills Picture: Alexa Fox

Beth’s performances at the Women’s Euros this summer have made her something of a household name as millions have watched her and the Lionesses play their scintillating way to the final at Wembley.

Beth’s six goals in the tournament have not only helped fire the Lionesses into the final, but have also put her on course to win the Golden Boot trophy.

The Northern Echo: Beth Mead has played excellently for the England Women's team in the Euros Picture: PA Beth Mead has played excellently for the England Women's team in the Euros Picture: PA

Read more: 'From Hinderwell to Euros stardom via Middlesbrough and Sunderland' - Beth Mead's footballing journey

She’ll be going toe-to-toe with the competition’s joint top scorer, German striker Alexandra Popp, when England take on Germany in front of a sell-out Wembley crowd of around 90,000 fans on Sunday.

And for the residents of Beth’s home village of Hinderwell, her rise to the very top of the women’s game is a source of great pride for this close-knit community.

So The Northern Echo spent the day in her village - and it's safe to say, everybody is extremely excited!

“It's absolutely fantastic what she is doing,” says Neil Robinson, chair of the Hinderwell Sports and Youth Centre which oversees the small pitch where a young Beth first began playing kickabout.

The Northern Echo:  Neil Robinson, chair of the Hinderwell Sports and Youth Centre Picture: Alexa Fox Neil Robinson, chair of the Hinderwell Sports and Youth Centre Picture: Alexa Fox

“She was a good little player and held her own against the boys.

“She grew up in the village, so we’ve all seen her grow up and progress to be the excellent player that she is now – probably England’s best in my opinion.”

And while the England’s men’s team are sometimes accused of being disconnected from normal fans due to their celebrity lashings and multi-million-pound contracts, the same certainly can’t be said of Beth and her teammates.

Read more: Lionesses can’t be tamed – how indomitable England reached the Euro 2022 final

“She came along to our gala weekend the other week with a Sunderland team-mate,” says Neil, “They both had a go at the egg throwing contest – Beth came first of course.”

Working at the family-run Cleveland Garage Ltd is Bethany Watson, 29, who has known Beth, who now plays for Arsenal, since she was 11.

The Northern Echo: Bethany Watson is a childhoold friend of Beth Mead Picture: Alexa FoxBethany Watson is a childhoold friend of Beth Mead Picture: Alexa Fox

She says it’s ‘very surreal’ to see her friend on TV and reflected on how football was always ‘a big thing’ Beth’s life.

“She was very sporty and always getting picked for the teams, but I suppose it maybe wasn’t until after college that I realised she was going to pursue it professionally,” Bethany says.

“It’s emotional seeing her on the TV but she was always meant to play football.

The Northern Echo: Flags flying in Hinderwell for Beth Mead Picture: Alexa FoxFlags flying in Hinderwell for Beth Mead Picture: Alexa Fox

“It’s such a happy feeling seeing her actually live her dream, it’s very surreal but then again it is just like she is meant to be there.”

Stopping for lunch at the R Lyth Family Butcher’s in Hinderwell, painter and decorators Peter Sinclair and Chris Ripley couldn’t be prouder of Beth and her team-mates.

“We’ve been watching the ladies and I think it’s going to be a tough one for them on Sunday after watching last night’s game (Germany v France),” Peter says.

The Northern Echo: Chris Ripley and Peter Sinclair have been following the Lionesses' progress Picture: Alexa FoxChris Ripley and Peter Sinclair have been following the Lionesses' progress Picture: Alexa Fox

“But Beth has been brilliant and we feel very proud, the way the ladies game has improved in recent years is incredible.”

Chris adds: “I think they are putting the sexism in the game to bed with their performances, I think the nation is behind them.

“They are injecting a bit of pride back into the country and it’s nice to see people eating their words about women’s football – they’ve gone one step further than the men haven’t they."

Inside Hinderwell Methodist Church hall, Janice Husbands is busy packing away after an event but pauses to share her pride at Beth’s achievements.

The Northern Echo: Flags and bunting flying for Beth Mead in Hinderwell Picture: Alexa FoxFlags and bunting flying for Beth Mead in Hinderwell Picture: Alexa Fox

Janice has been a dinner lady for 21-years at Beth’s former school, Oakridge Community Primary, and remembers how the youngster excelled at football even back then.

Janice says: “She was amazing from the word go.

“She was just so dedicated to football right from being a little girl, she was just ruthless and was an asset to the team even though she was a girl, it didn’t matter, she was going to go right to the top.

The Northern Echo: Janice Husbands, back right, has known Beth Mead since she was at primary school Picture: Alexa FoxJanice Husbands, back right, has known Beth Mead since she was at primary school Picture: Alexa Fox

“The village got behind her, we held coffee mornings here for her when she went to go professional at Sunderland, it is a great community here and we are all right behind her.”

Janice joked that the village would like to host an open-top bus parade with Beth holding the Euros Cup if the Lionesses win on Sunday.

“That would be quite something wouldn’t it?” she says.

And for a village girl who started out playing with the boys at a school with less than 40 pupils, to becoming a star player for the national team in front of sell-out crowds and millions of TV viewers, Beth Mead’s achievements certainly are quite something, whatever happens on Sunday.

  • The England v Germany game will be televised live on BBC One on Sunday August 31, with coverage starting at 4pm

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