Bell joins Widnes Referees Society
Lauren Bell, aged 15 from Widnes, Cheshire was welcomed into the Widnes Rugby League Referees Society this week as she embarks on her match officiating career following the successful completion of a match officials course.
Lauren will be the first female match official to join the Widnes Rugby League Referees Society in eight years.
Louise Greenhalgh was the first female to join the group back in 2003 and is a member of the referees society management committee, she has progressed her match officiating career to a high level within the sport both at amateur and professional level.
She currently holds the honour of being the first female match official to be appointed to a major open age final when she was appointed to the Co-operative National League 3 Grand Final at Headingly Stadium,
Leeds in 2006.Louise Greenhalgh said “There are equal opportunities within rugby league to progress your match official’s career as far as you wish to take it whether you are male or female.
“Throughout my career in the sport I have found that you are not treated any differently just because you are female, I have personally found players, coaches, clubs and other match officials to be very accepting of me when I am officiating.
“It does create a few raised eyebrows when you arrive at grounds but people are very good and appreciate you are there to officiate a match and respect you for the role you are fulfilling.
“I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend match officiating to any female who has an interest in taking up the whistle, It’s a very rewarding sport that helps build confidence, communication and people management skills, all of which are transferable skills within the workplace and I have enjoyed every moment of my career so far.
”Lauren is expected to take charge of her first game on the 20th February at the Stobart Stadium Halton in Widnes in a curtain raiser prior to the main game between Widnes v Rochdale in the Northern Rail Cup Competition.
Anyone interested in becoming a Match Official or joining the Widnes Referees Society should contact Peter.Brooke@rfl.uk.com or 07738 131790 for more information.