Collection of sustainable statues made for trailblazers in Scottish women’s rugby

A series of sustainable statues have been erected in Edinburgh of trailblazers in Scottish women’s rugby.

The statues are made from 100 per cent recycled plastics and pay homage to rugby legend Donna Kennedy, as well as current stars Lisa Thomson and Francesca McGhie.

They have been displayed ahead of the 2024 women’s Six Nations, as research found half of young girls have been inspired to take up sport after watching the success of female athletes.

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A study of 500 females aged 10-17 revealed seeing successful women in sport has boosted the confidence of 65 per cent, with 55 per cent claiming it makes them feel like they can do anything. But it’s not just famous faces encouraging young girls to pick up the baton, as 38 per cent have been inspired watching their mum, sister, auntie or other lesser-known females engage in exercise.

The research, commissioned by Scottish Gas which also created the statues found 65 per cent who have watched sport have seen women participate, but 34 per cent of youngsters want to see more female sports on TV. 

It also emerged 46 per cent of sporting viewers have watched females play a sport in real life, and 43 per cent would like to attend a women’s rugby game in person.

Speaking at the unveiling of the statues in Castle Street in Edinburgh, record Scotland Women’s appearance holder Donna Kennedy said: "It’s amazing to be recognised as a trailblazer and hear how inspirational female athletes can be on the next generation.

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“What we see around us and what we’re exposed to has a huge bearing on our development and with women’s rugby in Scotland going from strength to strength it a great time to encourage more young girls to watch and play the game.”

Left to Right : Lisa Thomson, Donna Kennedy and Francesca McGhie pose with their statuesLeft to Right : Lisa Thomson, Donna Kennedy and Francesca McGhie pose with their statues
Left to Right : Lisa Thomson, Donna Kennedy and Francesca McGhie pose with their statues | Robert Perry/PinPep

Research carried out by OnePoll found 72 per cent of girls like playing sports, and 55 per cent enjoy watching it. 

And 66 per cent think watching female athletes in a stadium or arena is positively influencing girls to play a sport themselves. 

The survey revealed 83 per cent said female sports stars are inspirational role models, with Jessica Ennis-Hill, Emma Raducanu and Rebecca Adlington at the top of the list, with Donna Kennedy and Lisa Thomson also featuring.  

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Speaking ahead of Scotland Women’s Six Nation’s opener against Wales, current international and trailblazer Lisa Thomson said: “There are so many brilliant female athletes who I looked up to when I was younger, including Donna, so to be given the platform to play for Scotland and help inspire the next generation is fantastic.  

“It’s a really exciting time for women’s rugby in this country and we want to build on this by encouraging even more young girls to both play and watch the sport – starting with our games at the Women’s Six Nations.” 

A spokesperson for Scottish Gas said: “Helping to grow women’s sport is crucial to help the next generation. We know there’s a huge interest in the game, as show by the survey results, and helping future athletes see a path for themselves is so important.”

For more information on the trailblazers and to purchase tickets for Scotland Women’s Six Nations home games at Hive Stadium against France (March 30) and England (April 13) visit here.

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