Last week we hosted our Referee Awards Evenings across three consecutive nights at our headquarters in Culver Road, Lancing.
The evenings were a chance to honour, celebrate and recognise those match officials who have given 15, 25, 35 or 40 years continuous service to the game.
Each official received the relevant framed certificate, and bronze, silver or gold badge, followed by a sumptuous buffet provided by the Deli Bean in Lancing.
Our Referee Development Manager, Paul Jeffery, commented: “These evenings have brought together friends and colleagues that haven’t seen each other for years. The natural common denominator was refereeing, with 1,160 years’ service between them, there were many stories recalled over the evenings, and I honestly didn’t hear VAR mentioned once. Camaraderie was evident throughout.
“47 referees attended, with 23 guests and 3 county members. It would be remiss of me not to mention John Edwards, interim chair of the Sussex County FA, who presented the awards on Tuesday, and also attended on Thursday. Martin Bodenham, who presented the awards on Thursday, and my fellow staff members, Abi Knight, Karen Harrington, Lisa Benn and Darren Ford for assisting with the smooth running of each night, and Paul Saunders for taking over from me as master of ceremonies on Wednesday, allowing me to present the awards.
“The undoubted winner of each evening, however, was grassroots football, due to the recipient’s dedication and service to ‘The Peoples Game’ and long may it continue!”