CAROL GLENDINNING is not sure how many washing machines she has been through in her rise to becoming first female president of the Carlisle Rugby Football Club.

Carol, 61, said she had always been hands-on and became involved with the club when her son Andy began as a junior 17 years ago.

She said: “If it benefits your family then you give something back. You have to get involved and hands on.”

During the ensuing years she has washed plenty of kit – hence the overuse of washing machines.

But she has also served as youth chairman and, with husband Bill, as team managers. She is also the safeguarding officer for the club and has earned her position through tireless support and work.

She said she was delighted to be the first woman president – not so much for herself, but her pride in the fact that the club she supports is breaking new ground.

Her job, she said, would be to act as the face of the rugby club – going to games and official functions and other events.

This week, she has even more reason to be proud.

A player who came through the ranks at Carlisle will now kick off as centre in the Lions test against South Africa on Saturday.

Chris Harris now plays for Gloucester, but it was Carlisle where he learnt his skills.

Carol said: “This is what we want for the club. I am thrilled about Chris. Moving forward I just want us to continue being an excellent rugby club.

“We are training youngsters and seeing them as senior members achieving more.”

Carol said she is also looking forward to seeing the physical development of the club.

There is still a long way to go with the project but planning is underway for what would be a complete redesign of the club premises.

A proposal for a new build on the site of the old grandstand has been ruled out because of costs.

However, a working party overseeing the redevelopment has invited local architects to submit outline plans for the design and upgrade of the present building footprint.

It has now been agreed that the club will invite the Unwin Jones Partnership to draw up detailed plans.

Once that is done, there will be a wider consultation with club members and staff.

Details of the consultation process will be posted on the club’s website nearer the time.

While the redevelopment is an exciting time, club officials are warning members that it could be some time before the work is started.

Planning permission will be needed, which could take up to 13 weeks.

Once permission is secured and members have approved the plans in the consultation, the club will know better what it can afford to do and what money will be available.

The work will then go out to tender

There are warnings that this, in itself, could be a protracted matter because of a heavy demand for building services in and around Carlisle which means the club is giving not time frame for the redesign.