TRIBUTES have been paid to a Denbigh Town FC legend who has sadly passed away.

Karen Coates passed away earlier this week, and is survived by her partner Rich and her children Denim and Tyisha.

Karen was a founding member of Denbigh Town Ladies in 2008, remaining a key footballing figure in Denbigh as the women’s game has grown.

She continued to be a popular figure throughout the years both on and off the pitch, picking up a number of achievements as she and the club continued to develop.

In the early years, Karen helped win the North Wales Women’s Football League and Betty Pickering Cup as the club also reached the semi-final of the Welsh Cup.

Former manager John Clayton said: “Karen was one of the original members of the group which started football training for recreation and went on to form Denbigh Ladies FC.


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“Although she had never previously kicked a football, as with everything in her life, she threw herself into it and gradually became a very capable defender and an integral member of the squad, earning the nickname of the Ginger Ninja.

“She trained and played with an infectious enthusiasm which transmitted itself to other players enabling the team to progress and become well-established in North Wales women's football circles.

“As a member of the leaders' group in the squad, Karen was always one of the first to welcome new players into the fold and was very popular with everyone forming friendships that went beyond football.”

Current Denbigh Town Ladies captain Elen James-Owen also paid tribute to her former team-mate and friend.

“Without the likes of Karen there really wouldn’t be a football team in Denbigh today,” said Ms James-Owen.

“Thanks to Karen and several others who were so dedicated and committed to forming and developing a Denbigh Ladies side, despite football being such a new hobby to them, it allowed youngsters like me and my sister to continue to play football throughout our teenage years.

“I have such fond memories of playing alongside Karen, she was so welcoming and so full of life even in our boxing training sessions!

"But particularly in our socials and away trips where we would get coaches filled with all our family and friends supporting us.

“Without Karen and the OGs, mine and my sister Haf’s footballing experience would have been a lot different and duller.

"They made football so joyous which has had a massive impact on our continued love for the sport.”

A Denbigh Town FC spokesperson said: “Everybody at Denbigh Town Football Club sends our condolences to Karen’s family, friends and supporters and will forever be grateful for the huge impact she has made on the club.

“Rest in Peace, Karen.”

A minute’s silence was held before last weekend’s game with Bellevue in the NEWFA Cup at Central Park, where supporters paid their respects.

There is also a fundraiser to help pay for funeral costs – to donate visit the club's website (link in the tribute piece).