- Celebration match at Atherstone for Warwickshire official
- Gwyn Airdrie reaches half century landmark
Warwickshire's Gwyn Airdrie will celebrate 50 years of refereeing with a special match at Atherstone RFC on Sunday, November 17.
Airdrie will field a Referee’s XV against a veterans team from Atherstone, the club where he was once president, to make his landmark achievement.
Airdrie first took up refereeing at 16 after a short spell serving as touch judge for his father’s club Sutton Coldfield and remains a familiar and popular figure on pitches across Warwickshire.
Airdrie’s first appointment was a match between Coventry Technical College and Nuneaton Colts and he continues to referee two matches a week, a schools or university fixture in midweek and a league match in Warwickshire each Saturday.
Airdrie was an RFU A List referee between 1982 and 1988 when he officiated at most of the major clubs in England and also took charge of a women’s international between England and Wales at Moseley’s old ground at The Reddings.
He then became one of the RFU’s first touch judges where he was again involved at senior level for several years before he stepped down to return to his first love of refereeing.
Airdrie remains a respected referee in Warwickshire for his man-management, good humour and vast experience.
“As a referee I got to a much higher level than I would ever have got as a player but the main thing is the sheer enjoyment that you get from refereeing,” Airdrie said.
“Making a good decision at the right time, such as someone scoring a try after you have played advantage, gives you a lot of satisfaction.
“I’ve met a lot of people and made a lot of friends over the last 50 years although I’m now refereeing people who are the grandsons of people who were playing when I first started, which is a bit frightening.”
Airdrie’s long service to refereeing has already been recognised with life membership of the Warwickshire Society of Referees and he had a table of guests to help him celebrate at the Society’s recent annual dinner.
Airdrie, a former chairman of the Referees’ Society, works as head of sales for the Liverpool Victoria insurance company.
“I have always been very fortunate to have employers that have generously allowed me time for refereeing,” Airdrie said.