A Suffolk football referee has won a national role model award.

Ian Moore, a Suffolk FA Level 5 official who referees Ipswich Youth Leagues, Suffolk and Ipswich Leagues and Sunday Morning League, was Highly Commended in the Inspirational Role Model category at the Referee Recognition Awards.

The 60-year-old, who was nominated by Ipswich Town FC disability liaison officer Lee Smith, was one of 50 nominees for the gong.

Mr Moore said he couldn't believe it when he was handed the award.

He said: “I was very shocked and had to pinch myself a few times. It was a dream come true. 

“I didn’t think for one moment that this would ever happen to me. It gives me hope that other new and upcoming referees can see that anything is possible.  

“I would like to think I am a role model for them, including the BAME community, and that we are being noticed.”

The Suffolk official, who took up refereeing in 2006, was one of the 170 guests at the award ceremony at Wembley Stadium.

Mr Moore said: “It’s the best thing that’s ever happened to me, especially as I haven’t been to Wembley since 1978!

“I am so grateful to have been nominated and to have won this award, especially at my age. I am very lucky and grateful that I am given this opportunity and to still be refereeing at the standard that I do after more than 20 years.  

“I am looking forward to being a mentor and supporting others in their refereeing journey if and when needed.”

More than 500 nominations were received across the 10 awards made at the event, at which FA Cup Final referee Andy Madley and Women's FA Cup Final assistant referee Nicoletta Bria conducted a Q&A session about their refereeing journey.