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'A dream come true' for Suffolk referee

A SUFFOLK referee said it was ‘a dream come true’ after receiving a national award.

A SUFFOLK referee said it was ‘a dream come true’ after receiving a national award.

Ian Moore was Highly Commended in the Inspirational Role Model category at the Referee Recognition Awards.

The 60-year-old was interviewed by Sky TV after receiving the award at a ceremony attended by 170 guests at Wembley Stadium on Wednesday evening.

Ian, whose name was put forward by Ipswich Town FC Disability Liaison Officer Lee Smith, was one of 50 nominations received for the award.

He attended the event at Wembley after being shortlisted, but admitted he was ‘very shocked’ after being Highly Commended for the award.

The category was won by Paige Gowans-Smith for her sterling work as a volunteer coach and match official within the Hertfordshire FA.

Ian said: “I was very shocked and had to pinch myself a few times. It was a dream come true. 

“I didn’t think for one moment that this would ever happen to me. It gives me hope that other new and upcoming referees can see that anything is possible.  

“I would like to think I am a role model for them, including the BAME community and that we are being noticed.”

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Ian Moore (centre) receives his award from FA Cup Final Referee Andy Madley and Nicoletta Bria, who was Assistant Referee for the Women’s FA Cup Final. Main photograph: Ian proudly displays his award at Wembley Stadium

Asked where the award ranked among the highlights of his refereeing career, Ian said: “Right at the top, it’s the best thing that’s ever happened to me, especially as I haven’t been to Wembley since 1978!

“I am so grateful to have been nominated and to have won this award, especially at my age. I am very lucky and grateful that I am given this opportunity and to still be refereeing at the standard that I do after more than 20 years.  

“I am looking forward to being a mentor and supporting others in their refereeing journey if and when needed.”

Ian said it was a ‘privilege’ to be interviewed by Sky TV after receiving the award, and he started receiving congratulatory messages as soon as the interview was aired on Thursday morning.

“It was amazing, I couldn’t believe they wanted to interview me, it was surreal and to be on TV too!” he said.

More than 500 nominations were received across the 10 awards made at the event, at which FA Cup Final referee Andy Madley and Women's FA Cup Final assistant referee Nicoletta Bria conducted a Q&A about their refereeing journey.

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