Harry honoured for services to football

Football’s oldest referee has been handed a British Empire Medal in the Queen’s Birthday Honours.

For 55 years and more than 3,000 matches, Harry Hardy, from Ilkeston, has and still takes charge of matches in the Long Eaton League at the ripe old age of 87.

The honour, being presented for services to grassroots football, comes after he was awarded an Unsung Hero Award by the FA in October last year.

Prince William presented him with that honour at Buckingham Palace so rubbing shoulders with the Royals is something Harry should be used to.

He said: “I’m really pleased, it’s an honour, by gum it is.

“You’ve got to take these things in your stride though.

“I found out a while ago but you’re sworn to secrecy.”

As a result of his BEM he has been invited to the Palace again, this time for a garden party.

He told the Advertiser he will have to use one of his refereeing techniques to decide who joins him on his latest Royal appointment.

“I took one son to Wembley and the other to the Palace last time so we shall have to flip a coin to see who comes with me.

“My wife would prefer me take one of them, she likes to stay in the background.”