What was it that got you into developing and supporting referees?
A desire to pass on my knowledge and experience, wanting to help others as I was helped.
What’s the most rewarding thing about your role?
Seeing referees I coach or mentor progress and develop, and that lightbulb moment when they start to self-evaluate and recognise and solve their own problems. As a referee, it’s being thanked by players and spectators for giving them a decent game of rugby.
Tell us about your local refereeing society.
My local Society is the Staffordshire Rugby Union Society of Referees. I like it because it’s relatively small and personal; we all know and help each other and there is always someone you can call or message for advice or support. It’s a friendly Society and the range of clubs we cover is diverse. It’s always nice to bump into another referee at a club.
What’s match officiating done for you personally?
It’s enabled me to be part of ‘The Rugby Family’. I left school at 16 to join the Royal Navy and served 24 years, so never really had a home club to go back to. I played rugby on and off in the Navy for various ships and establishments. Being in the forces is like being in the biggest and best club in the world: you have mates who will always look out for you.
When I left the Navy I lost that family for a while until my kids wanted to try rugby. I volunteered to do a refereeing course to help referee the kids, then moved on to join a Society (Warwickshire at the time), and discovered ‘The Rugby Family’.
Officiating has given me a sense of purpose and enjoyment in my personal life. It keeps me fit (far fitter than I would be without it), and got me involved in rugby at lots of different levels. It’s also introduced me to my fiancée and hundreds of lifelong friends and has helped me in my work life too. I developed a system for the Leicester Tigers to show the referee’s decision on the big screen during matches. Premiership Rugby has recently adopted it as well and rolled out across all their clubs.