A TEENAGE footballer, who has represented England at under-17s level, is one of the latest East Lancs teens to become an ambassador for local charity, Dan’s Trust.

Jess Simpson, 17, from Clitheroe, began playing football at Little Kickers when she was just four years old, and currently plays for both England and Manchester United Women’s Under 21s, racking up 20 hours of training and games each week around her studies.

With a £1,000 donation from Dan’s Trust, rising teen footballing sensation Jess will be able to fund her long distance travel and new football kit more easily.

Lancashire Telegraph: Jess SimpsonJess Simpson

Junior Lioness Jess said: “I am currently studying a BTEC National Diploma in Sports Science alongside my training to help achieve my goals.

“I attend a college in Greater Manchester next to my United training ground, rather than a local college, as this means I can fit my education around football practice more easily.

"I have to regularly leave my house at 6am to catch a train and won't return home until around 9pm.”

Lancashire Telegraph: Jess Simpson plays for England’s under-17s squadJess Simpson plays for England’s under-17s squad

Jess, who played football for Lancashire County for four years, dreams of taking her career to the highest level by progressing into the Man United first team, with her long-term goal to ultimately play for England’s senior women’s team.

“I think it’s really important for young girls to see they can play football and have a career in football, and hope by seeing my story that I inspire more girls to follow their dreams,” Jess added.

Alongside Jess Simpson, Dan’s Trust - which was founded in 2012 following the sudden death of local sporting enthusiast Daniel Bagshaw - has also sponsored 2024 Youth Winter Olympic skiing hopeful Dante Vidri, 14-year-old county swimming medal-winner Sadie Wilson, and British Ice Skating Championship hopeful 16-year-old Lola Hesketh.

Lancashire Telegraph: Jess SimpsonJess Simpson

With donations to seven other talented and skilled teenagers from the area, and three sports clubs and local theatre companies, Dan’s Trust has already donated more than £20,000 to support the growth of talent in East Lancashire so far in 2022.

Dan's Trust was founded by Peter and Shelagh Bagshaw of Clitheroe, together with their sons Ian and Gary.

The charity was established after the death of their son and brother, Dan, who was just 27 when he died on the finish line of an ITU Olympic distance triathlon in Hong Kong after suffering from a sudden and unexplained arrhythmia.

Dan was a cycling enthusiast and extremely talented and athletic young lawyer.

Co-founder and trustee Ian Bagshaw, said: “Our plan for this year was to relaunch Dan’s Trust with a new website and to try to support as many young, talented individuals as possible after the awful impact of Covid-19.

"We are well on the way to doing just that, with so many new applications for funding coming our way.  

“We’re honoured to be able to help youngsters from East Lancashire further themselves in their specialism and develop their talent, and we are looking forward to assisting Jess, Dante, Sadie, Lola and many others now and in the future.”

As well as its successful awards programme, Dan’s Trust promotes and funds research into the early diagnosis of cardiac risk in the young, as well as the improvement of treatment methods for sudden cardiac arrest at Sheffield University and Imperial College London.