FA award for referee Stephen as he calls time after 33 years

POPULAR local referee Stephen Land has blown his final whistle after 33 years as an official.

Heavy Woollen referee Stephen has been presented with a certificate from the Football Association (FA) recognising his contribution to football in the local area.

Stephen qualified as a referee in 1977 and despite a hearing disability and only having the use of public transport, he quickly became one of the most well known and reliable referees in the district.

Over the years Stephen, who lives in Chickenley, has officiated in all of the Heavy Woollen District cup finals and after 33 years of service to refereeing, he finally decided this year to hang up his whistle.

He was presented with the award at a meeting of Heavy Woollen Referees’ Association in Heckmondwike by David Fuller, chairman of the WR Referees’ Committee.

Stephen thanked everybody present for supporting him throughout his career and wished all of the referees the very best of luck in their futures.

Mr Fuller added: “The standing ovation from the packed room of Heavy Woollen referees showed the respect and admiration that Stephen had gained from his colleagues over the last three decades.

“The West Riding FA and Heavy Woollen District FA would like to thank Stephen for the many years of service he has put into refereeing as well as his contribution to the Referees’ Association.”