Skip to main content

Pair of prizes for football fan Lili

  • 08 March 2021

Lili Donlon-Mansbridge (History 2017) has won the Lock Tankard Award, presented annually to the most deserving Caian, for her all-round contribution to College life.

Lili was awarded a first, plus a University prize, for her academic work, and she was an influential member of the Caius community. She was Gonville & Caius Students’ Union Vice-President and she was captain of the Women’s and Non-binary College football team. She now works as a researcher for an ITV current affairs show.

Lili’s dissertation – ‘Femininity, sexuality and women's football 1960 to 1990’ – earned her further honours, for the national Sport in History undergraduate essay prize. More details of the prize are on the organisation’s website: (yet to be updated as of 8 March)

In this video interview, Lili discusses the Sport in History prize, her passion for football, and her experience at Caius, particularly the importance of students using their voice to the benefit of the College community.

“Essentially, women's football was banned by the FA in England in 1921 and that ban lasted all the way until 1971,” Lili says.

“A really cool bit of history was that in 1971 when, I think at the time the ban was still technically on, it was all coming to an end, but at this point women technically weren't supposed to be playing competitive football, according to the FA, a group of women - about 14 of them - self-organised and sent a team to the 1971 Mexico Women's World Cup.

“I had no idea that there was that level of determination and fight to play that they organised this all themselves.”

On the Lock Tankard Award, Lili adds: “It's really incredible. I am really proud that whilst I was at Caius I was able to work with people and for the students and really put my all into trying to start campaigns, change things, and represent students.

“One of the strengths of Caius is that we have really developed a quite strong student-led voice within the College. It hasn't always been the case, but certainly over my time whilst I was there it was something that became stronger and stronger in the College.

“It's a College that is undergoing quite a change in its character. And where it wants to go and what it wants to represent, and what I really enjoyed is being a part of that. It's a really exciting time to get involved with Caius and shape the space you want to shape.

“I feel really honoured, and very thankful as well. I guess it's that sense that we've really done something, and that Caius is going to continue to be a great place for students to come and to say what they think.”

About the Lock Tankard

The Lock Tankard originates from the late John Lock (1934). The family has long-standing connections with Caius. His grandfather, also named John Lock, was Bursar at the turn of the 19th/20th century. The latest John Lock’s wish was to establish an award for students who do most for the College in general terms, as he considered himself “the least academic member of the family”. 

Share Share