Beccles restaurant worker will captain football team at Brazil World Cup

McDonalds female staff celebrate reaching the McDonalds football world cup finals to be played in Ri

McDonalds female staff celebrate reaching the McDonalds football world cup finals to be played in Rio next month. - Credit: Nick Butcher

A Beccles restaurant worker is looking forward to captaining her talented football team during the World Cup finals in Brazil next month.

The eyes of the nation will be firmly fixed on South America, as one of the world’s most widely viewed sporting events takes centre stage.

But while attentions will focus on the likes of England’s Wayne Rooney and Steven Gerrard during the Fifa World Cup, closer to home a group of women from the east coast are also aiming to become world champions in South America.

After being crowned national champions in March, the seven women who work at McDonald’s restaurants on the east coast have served up further footballing success after securing European glory last week – with Gemma Farman, who works at the Beccles McDonald’s Restaurant at Gillingham, skippering the triumphant side.

Team Wicks – made up of staff at the company’s restaurants in Lowestoft, Pakefield, Beccles and Great Yarmouth – were winners of European McDonald’s Cup. And this means that they will now head for Rio De Janeiro next month after their latest tournament victory.

During the FIFA World Cup next month they will have the honour of representing Europe in the global McDonald’s Cup finals. Team Wicks will fly out to Rio to compete in the world tournament, which will be held at the stadium of FC Botofogo at the end of June.

The team, which consists of captain Gemma, Sophie Martin from the Great Yarmouth McDonald’s, Sue-Lyn King, Nikki Wigg and Vicki Turner from the Pakefield McDonald’s and Mary Colledge and Kerri Stephenson from the Lowestoft McDonald’s, secured their place in the world finals by beating Denmark 1-0 last Thursday at the Nuremberg stadium in Germany.

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Gemma said: “We are absolutely ecstatic to have made it to Rio. To have won the UK and now the European titles is absolutely amazing.”

“We are so excited about the prospect of the tournament in Rio and can’t wait for what will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience.”

McDonald’s operations consultant David Wicks, who manages the restaurants where the team members work, said: “The team have made everyone, including me, so incredibly proud over the past couple of months.

“Not only have they continued their run of form with the victory in Germany last week, but they have also conducted themselves excellently on and off the pitch. They have been fantastic representatives for McDonald’s and the country.”

McDonald’s director of football Sir Geoff Hurst said: “I wish Team Wicks the very best of luck in Brazil. Getting to the finals is the hardest part of any tournament, once you are there anything can happen.”

The McDonald’s Cup is a five-a-side football tournament for McDonald’s staff, which features teams from across the UK.

More than 700 teams entered the competition at the qualifying stage in January, with 24 regional winners making it to the UK finals at St George’s Park in March.

Here, Team Wicks triumphed at the FA’s National Football Centre in Burton-Upon-Trent, where they were watched by England’s 1966 World Cup winner Sir Geoff Hurst.

They have now reached the World McDonald’s Cup finals next month – having progressed to the final stages after an estimated 10,000 people had played in the McDonald’s Cup across Europe.