Phil Carman, Society President

After refereeing school matches for a few years, it occurred to me that I ought to ‘qualify’ properly, so I joined the Society in the mid 1980s.  In the final minute of my first match I dismissed a player for violent play, but after submitting my report a little late, I’m still waiting for the disciplinary hearing!  I’ve only ever been ‘assessed’ twice in 33 years, but happily things are far better organised now, and I’m pleased now that current referees experience much better support for their progress and development. After 33 years with the Society I am very happy to fulfil the role of President for this Centenary year and to continue that support.

Chair – Kelvin Roberts

I started refereeing, like many because I became fed up with getting hurt as a player! From a very gentle start with the Society I started getting more opportunities and was fortunate enough to reach what we now call the National Panel. I then spent twelve years refereeing and AR’ing on the Panel before I hung my boots up and started coaching which I do to this day (and still really enjoy it). I’m on my third term on the Board, including a couple of years as Secretary, some time as Grading Director and now my new role as Chair.

Finance Director – Ian Moreton

I have been involved in rugby in one form or another since the age of 15 at various clubs including Telford, Shrewsbury, and in the south of the region, Cheltenham before finishing my 21 year playing career at Evesham. Wishing to remain involved in the game I turned to refereeing and had 15 enjoyable years before serious injury led to retirement. I took on the role of Society Treasurer some twenty five years ago and have been involved in the evolution of the Society to the flourishing organisation it is now. I’m part of the coaching team at RGS Worcester, and have also recently taken up a role on the Rugby Football Union of Referees Finance Committee

Development Director- Mike Vaughan

After playing rugby for 22 years a shoulder injury forced me to stop, so I took up refereeing at the age of 33; I am lucky to still be able to do so most weekends. I have served on the old Committee as an ordinary member and as Chairman, and in the past few years on the board as Recruitment and Retention Director. Rugby has been and still is the game of my life and I feel by refereeing I can help many more enjoy the sport.

Administration Director – Michael Patz

My professional role is as the RFU Match Official Development Manager, which in broad terms means that I am accountable for the match official qualification framework, and the recruitment, deployment & development of all MOs down to level 5, and work closely with the Professional Referees. I have been a referee for nearly 20 years, which has literally taken me all over the world, where I have formed some fantastic relationships. I am an Educator, Coach and Performance Reviewer delivering on behalf of the RFU and World Rugby.

I believe that I can bring this experience and knowledge to bear for the benefit of our North Midlands Society colleagues and as a student of the game, our wider rugby community.

Training Director – Neil Chivers

I qualified when I was 16 but didn’t really do anything more until, like everyone else, I got injured! I couldn’t just do nothing on a Saturday afternoon so I took the plunge and became poacher turned game keeper. I managed to work my way to operating as part of the RFU’s P.G.M.O.T in recent years, and was able to act as Assistant Referee for a World 7’s final at Twickenham, U20’s European internationals and to Referee at the home of English rugby. In ‘real life’ I’m a L&D Training Lead, and I’m looking forward to using these skills to bring aspiring new referees through as well as improving the skills of our existing members.

Youth Director – Leonie Pryor

I took the plunge into refereeing in 2015 and my only regret is that I didn’t stumble upon it a decade or so earlier. I’ve been involved in the very successful Young Match Official program from its infancy in 2018 and took on the new role of Youth Director on the board in 2019. I work closely with my fabulous team of YMO mentors to develop our young referees, it’s so rewarding to see these incredibly mature and driven young individuals progress through their refereeing journey. 

Communication Director – Julian Edwards

Rugby’s been a part of my life since I was 11, and after playing at schoolboy county level, I’ve been a ‘sofa referee’ for much of the last 30 years, although I’ve only been refereeing in earnest a couple of those. I started when I thought my son (now also a YMO) was being refereed badly – little did I know how wrong I was! In my working life I sell and write for a living (often combining the two!) and from tentatively volunteering an ‘hour or so a week’ to assist with the website, only 6 months later I found myself on the board!

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