Fylde coast football refs rise up ladder
A raft of Fylde coast football referees are celebrating promotions up the football ladder.
Natalie Aspinall, 34, from Marton, has been promoted to the Football League as an assistant referee.
She will be only the fifth woman to reach that level in England – following Sian Massey, Helen Byrne, Amy Fearn and Lisa Rashid.
Natalie (pictured with daughter Emilia), was the assistant referee at the National League play-off final between Grimsby Town and Forest Green Rovers at Wembley last month.
The mum-of-one, who took up refereeing as a teenager, has also refereed the Women’s FA Cup final and officiated at two Women’s World Cups, in Canada and Germany.
She was one of 12 assistants to be promoted to the Football League ranks.
Scott Oldham (pictured right), from Poulton, will next season referee in the National League Premier Division, formerly the Conference, as a Level 2a referee.
He was one of just 15 referees in the country to achieve that promotion.
David Underwood, from Thornton, was promoted to Level 2b, meaning he will referee in the National League North – which includes AFC Fylde at their new Mill Farm stadium at Wesham– next season.
Elliott Swallow, from South Shore, has been promoted to Level 3, which will see him referee in the Evo-Stik League and North West Counties League Premier Division.
Niall Eaves, also from Thornton, has been promoted to Level 4, which includes the West Lancashire Football League Premier Division.