In 2017 set up my own business Commonsense Initiative. I retrained as a life coach, hypnotherapist and NLP practitioner
Inspiring and empowering young people and women to unlock and achieve their potential
CSI uses inspirational women’s experiences to engage with individuals and groups with the intention of making positive differences. This is achieved through one to one coaching, workshops and inspirational speaking. The end goal is to give individuals the time and space to explore their strengths and encourage curiosity, to promote personal understanding by challenging limiting beliefs and reinforcing positive ones, and ultimately providing them with the self-confidence and belief to achieve their potential England – it’s inspired of my life story, so it’s fictionalised.
Ref! Crossing the Line – inspired by my story written by playwright Sarah Jane Dickenson It tells the story of Alex who falls in love with the game of Rugby League at the tender age of 12
She is determined to prove herself to be as good as, if not better than the men. – it’s heart-warming, funny but it’s gritty in places It’s part of a bigger project called Crossing the Line, produced by Arts and Social Change Charity Space 2, which is all about Ref is a new play, funded by Arts Council
empowering women and giving them a voice.
‘Crossing the Line’ funded by the Heritage Lottery aims to uncover and share the stories of women connected to Rugby League.
We are keen to get women’s views – which have seldom been heard, despite their passion and involvement in Rugby League
We will be working in partnership with Rugby League Clubs and Foundations, based in the northern heartlands such as Hull, Batley, Featherstone and Castleford and taking the theatre performance and interactive community workshops into those communities.
All the stories and memories that people share will become part of a wider collection of artefacts at Hull Kingston Rovers, Batley, Castleford and Featherstone and the National Rugby League Museum which is due to open in Bradford in 2021.
In addition I will be working directly with a group of local women who will receive workshops and one to one coaching and help to record stories and for the museum collection.
Ref has been in Hull in July 2019 and planned Castleford Batley, Featherstone and Hull
Tour Dates and Venues
7 February – LD Nutrition Stadium Featherstone 7 pm
8 February – Mount Pleasant Stadium, Batley 7 pm
15 February – Phoenix Theatre, Castleford 715 pm
22 February – West Hull Community Park 730 pm
Personal Potted History
From Hull, Dad died in a car accident when I was 3, Loner, shy, did not fit in
Mum brought up 3 children she lacked self-belief and confidence. Dedicated her life to her children.
When I was 9 wanted to play RL in the playground with the boys – they would not let me so I refereed them
Aged 12 went to Hull KR v Hull FC Wembley Challenge Cup final – became a super fan did not miss a game – obsession
At secondary school would not let me play rugby was sent into the corner with a rugby ball
Aged 17 – as a dare I applied to be a RL Referee
Aged 18 moved to London to be a nanny – refereed open age games
Aged 19 lived in Aussie became first women to officiate in Aussie and UK open age
I was the first female qualified Rugby League Referee in Great Britain and Australia to officiate men’s games and had fifteen years’ experience as a Match Official reaching professional and International honours. To date no female in the UK has surpassed my achievements as a referee.
I began officiating at the age of seventeen (17) years and throughout my officiating career I demonstrated resilience under extreme resistance to my presence and dealt with the rigours of officiating three to four games a week, the majority men’s open age matches. After only five years I became a Graded Official, finishing top in the Laws of the Game exam and passing the strenuous fitness test.
Within a couple of years, I was Officiating National Conference Premier Division, the elite of the Community Game, alongside the Colts (U19) and Alliance (First Team Reserves). Before my premature retirement due to injury I officiated over 500 games with accolades in the Student Game and International Honours in the women’s and men’s games.
Concurrent with my Officiating career I completed a Sports Science Degree and after my retirement I invested time in to the physiology, nutritional, psychological, technical and well-being of an Official. I was instrumental in the late 1990s developing the Rugby League Match Official pathway training and development.
Refereeing ACHIEVEMENT 1986 – 2000
1986 – Passed UK Referee Exam Officiated in Hull then London
1987 – 1990 London Amateur Rugby League Cup Finals
1988 – 1991 Colts Touch Judge
1988 – Passed Australian Ticket and Refereed for one season in Australia
1991 – Yorkshire v Lancashire Women Old Trafford Referee
1991 – Passed RFL Exam and Fitness to become a Graded Official.
1991 -1998 National Conference, Academy & Alliance Referee
1995 – 1998 Women’s Grand Finals Referee
1996 – BARLA Cup Final U16 Official
1996 – Student World Cup Official
1997 – Leeds Metropolitan v Queensland Referee
1997 – New Zealand v Great Britain Test Series Referee
1996 – Australia v Great Britain Test Series Referee
1998 – Great Britain v New Zealand Test Series Referee
1998 – Great Britain V France U18 Official
1998 – Oxford v Cambridge
2000 – Retired due to back injury work related
1987 – Initially, a Nanny in London
1988 – 1 year travel Aussie and working/refereeing
1989 – homeless families and youthwork – London/Hull
1994 – 1997 – Leeds Met University Sport Science Degree
1997 – 2017 – worked in Rugby League
Working in Rugby League Major Achievements
2014 – 2017 Reviewed, developed and cascaded the 2015 – 2021 Match Official Strategy to recruit, develop and retain Match Officials.
2015 – Present – developed and piloted the Respect programme.
2013 – 2015 Strategically developed and implemented the framework to deliver ‘Sky Try’ a programme which worked with a range of stakeholders to deliver a £8m grassroots programme.
2009 – 2015 Led an innovative working group which reformed the organisation and delivery of the RFL staff meetings. This received 85% satisfaction from those involved.
In 2009 – 2013 successfully led the Festival of World Cups. Over a two-week period, a total of 25 teams from 11 nations competed in 47 matches at eight different venues.
2002 – 2011 Led on the Sport England Whole Sport Plan application. In 2002 the RFL received £1.5m for their first application. In 2008 we secured £30 million. This was the second highest given to any National Governing Body.
2002- 2011 Led on the compilation and the delivery of the RFL Community Strategy. The plans had national objectives which reached local needs.
2003 – 2011 Developed an aligned reporting system for the delivery, monitoring and reviewing of the Community Strategy.
2002 – 2011 Organised conferences for community development staff. Initially, this was for fifteen people and has built to over 164.
2002 – 2011 Successfully project managed national programmes such as a National Competition Framework, School Club links and a female game programme. This involved developing and maintained working relationships with Sport England, Youth Sport Trust and Sport and Recreation Alliance (formally CCPR) and a wide range of NGB’s.
In 2009, in consultation with the RFL staff, I developed and implemented the RFL vision, mission and values for the business.
2009 during the Community Development recruitment phase I was instrumental in the development of an induction process for all RFL employees.
In 2009 led the project for the development and implementation of workforce development throughout the RFL.
In 2009 developed and supported the RFL Performance Management system through behaviours.
In 2009 integral member of the Investors in People working group which achieved IIP in 2010.
In 2009, over a three-month period, I strategically planned the successful recruitment of over 40 staff throughout the nine English regions.
2008 – 2011 Responsible for the budgetary management of over £8 million per year.
2002 – 2008 I successfully secured over £250k from Sports Match and delivered the projects through a range of partners.
From 2002 until 2006 I developed and implemented a successful national player development system.
From 2000 until 2006 I organised, developed and delivered successful player development camps at local, regional and national levels. This involved catering for the diversity and general needs of over 200 people.
None Rugby League
Climbed Kilimanjaro; Inca Trail – Peru; Annapurna Circuit; British 3 Peaks; Kayaked Zambezi.