A great evening was enjoyed by all at the Durham County RA’s annual County Dinner, hosted by Sunderland, and held at Nissan Sports and Social Club on Saturday 9th November 2013.
Following a four-course meal, the awards were given out, which included our own Dickie Madden receiving his 50-year service award for membership of the RA.
On a Saturday morning in 1963, Dick went to watch the son of a friend play in a game involving two ‘cubs’ teams. There was no official referee there to assist in the game and Dick was talked into refereeing the game, which he enjoyed immensely. Later that year, he passed his referees examination on the Laws of the Game, and also joined the Referees Association.
Within 12 months, Dick had progressed from Class 3 to Class 2, and became a Class 1 referee in 1968. By now, Dick was on the Northern League list of referees, but after a motorcycle accident in 1969, Dick was forced to take time out of refereeing. In 1971, Dick reapplied to the list of Northern League referees, but was politely informed that, at the age of 40, he was too old to be placed back on the list.
Dick then dedicated his refereeing career in the local leagues in and around Sunderland. He was forced to retire in 1986 following heart problems, and a subsequent bypass operation. Later that year, Dick applied to Durham County FA to become a Referee Assessor, and set about aiding the development of referees within the county. Twenty-seven years later, Dick continues to assess for Durham County FA.
Dick has been a Vice President of the Sunderland Referees Society for a good number of years and never misses the monthly committee and general meetings. This is something Dick thoroughly enjoys and hopes to do so for many more years to come.
Following the awards, comedian and magician Billy Flywheel went down a storm with the crowd, followed by Lyndsey Darling, an excellent female vocalist. All in all, a great night was enjoyed by all, and Sunderland RA looks forward to supporting the event next year.