Award-winning Rise Park football referee to celebrate 100th birthday

Susan Field

Stan Smith pictured in what his daughter, Susan, 66, calls "one of his trademark caps" in Suffolk, 2019. - Credit: Susan Field

A long-serving Romford football referee is all set to celebrate his 100th birthday.

Stan Smith, who has lived in Rise Park since 1953, will be toasting his centenary on September 21.  

The much-loved dad, grandad and great-grandfather spent many years as a football referee before becoming an assessor and mentor to others looking to kick start a career in that field as a member of the former Romford Referees’ Association.  

He was vice-president and according to the former meetings organiser, Dave Ainsworth, only ever sent one player off the pitch.  

His granddaughter, Julie, 34 - who would prefer to only use her first name - said he was also a draftsman for the London Electricity Board. 

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Stan also served in the RAF, where he worked as a radio technician on the Spitfires, a job which his daughter, Susan Field, 66, said was "very important". 

Julie remembers when she was younger, Stan would take her and her brother Paul, 26, “down the garden path in a wheelbarrow” which she is “sure he still has to this day”.  

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Susan said her dad "loves his garden" and it is a real passion which he has taught her all about. 

In 2005, Stan received a 50 years’ meritorious service award from the Referees’ Association, presented by top referee Keith Hackett.

That same year, he was runner-up in Havering Sports Council’s annual sports volunteer of the year awards. 

Entering the world of football after completing a referees’ course in Ilford, he completed over 30 years active service as an official, serving in local and Essex senior leagues.  

Stan was also a committeeman with what was the Romford Referees’ Association. 

Stan's daughter, Christine, 62, whose birthday is the day after her dad’s, said: “He’s been a wonderful dad, grandad and great-grandfather. He used to love his job as a referee and we’re so glad he has made it to 100.” 

Julie added: “From day one he has been an amazing grandad, more like a second dad, he has always supported and educated us, and would always be there at the end of the phone if we needed any help.  

“It’s a huge thing to celebrate 100 and we’re so proud of him for everything he has done and achieved.  

“He is an outstanding person – it makes me extremely proud he is my grandad.”  

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