Geography & Sports Management Graduate Billy first got involved as a referee through seeing the opportunity on our CVA Portal, since then he's flourished and gone onto referee not only within the Intramural Sport Programme (IMS),and IMS Rugby Super Series, but also BUCS fixtures and a BUCS Cup final too!
Tell us a little bit about yourself (hobbies, interests and background):
I have just graduated from Loughborough, having studied Geography & Sports Management. Next year I will be teaching Geography at Warwick School, whilst I completing my PGCE through the University of Warwick. Outside of teaching I will be refereeing on a Saturday afternoon back in Leicestershire through Leicestershire Referees Society.
How did you first get involved in volunteering within sport at Loughborough?
I first volunteered as a Sports Sec for my hall and then saw the opportunity to qualify as a rugby referee through the CVA portal where they offered to cover the cost on my England Rugby Referee Award (ERRA) and the travel expenses. This lead on to me refereeing on a Sunday within Intramural sport and after enjoying it I quickly joined Leicestershire Referees and haven't looked back.
During your years at Loughborough what have you got involved in through volunteering within sport?
Being a sports sec in my first year meant I was heavily involved in IMS. Before the pandemic I refereed within Intramural Sport, the Super Series rugby match at University, BUCS League games, and refereed within Leicestershire along side this. Since then it has been a strange final year without much rugby going on, however I am very grateful to the whole Loughborough Rugby Programme and both Scott Sneddon, and Rhys Edwards in particular for inviting me in through April and May to work with the performance squad and Lightning Programme in the lead up to their Premiership Semi-Final and Final,. Here I acted as a consultant on their isolated contact drills and then refereed their conditioned games at the end of the sessions. This then lead on to me refereeing their four internal matches within the performance squad once restrictions ended. As the new season starts (2021/2022) I am looking to get a good pre-season in which kicks off for me with Leicester Tigers v Newcastle Falcons Academy.
What has your experience volunteering been like whilst at Loughborough?
Being able to qualify as a referee through Loughborough Sport has allowed me to progress quickly through the levels and has created many opportunities. I am hoping to continue developing and hopefully one day turn professional within the Premiership. Despite the last year being strange the opportunities I have gained through the rugby club, but also by refereeing the final super series game in May was a good end to a fantastic four years at Loughborough.
How has being involved with Loughborough Sport helped you develop and progress (personally and professionally)?
It has been a huge help. I have been lucky to gain support from both Loughborough Sport and Loughborough Students Rugby club but also from Leicestershire Referees Society where I have been appointed a referee coach. My coach focuses on everything involved with the game, from positioning and pre-match preparation to video analysis of my games.
What’s the best advice you could give to a Loughborough student looking to get involved in volunteering & gain the most out of their university experiences?
The biggest advice I would give to any new student is just to try something new and take every opportunity you can get. You never know where it may lead or who you may meet. Loughborough is arguably the best university in the world to gain these opportunities so don't waste the time you have here.
Finally, what do you enjoy most about volunteering?
Meeting the many people I have, and having the opportunity to develop in a supportive environment. I am lucky that the volunteering and opportunities I have gained through Loughborough Sport have potentially set me up to go all the way within refereeing, and I am certainly motivated to do this.