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Referee blows for time after half a century

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He first picked up a whistle in 1956 as a 17-year-old, and counts the England vs Germany schoolboys international at Wembley in 1991 as the highlight of his refereeing career.
He also helped coach England and Arsenal star Theo Walcott when he was a pupil at the Downs House School in Compton, and is one of the most recognisable faces in Berkshire’s community football set up.
But now, 74-year-old Doug Cook, from Kersey Crescent in Speen, is taking a step back from the Sunday League circuit after more than half a century involved in refereeing in Newbury.
Mr Cook was rewarded for over five decades of service to community football with a cheque at a special dinner held at the Horse and Hounds.
Friends and former colleagues all gathered to pay tribute to Mr Cook, who was a PE teacher at Park House School for 35 years.
“I had many special years involved with football and I’ve seen a lot of very talented players over the years,” he said.
“It was incredible to see so many faces from over the years turn up and it was a very nostalgic evening with a lot of happy memories.
“One of the best I saw play was Theo, he was skilful and could do everything at such speed.”
Mr Cook will continue to referee, but has called time on officiating Sunday League matches to spend more time with his wife, who retired from her post as the Treasurer of Newbury Schools football last month.
Mr Cook is still involved with sport at Robert Sandilands School

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