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Matlock's Reg Smith awarded British Empire Medal

Matlock Water Polo Club’s Reg Smith, 74, has been awarded the British Empire Medal for his services to the sport, the club and the Nottinghamshire Water Polo League by the Lord Lieutenant of Derbyshire, William Tucker.

The prestigious ceremony took place at Matlock’s Arc Leisure Centre in April and marked his outstanding contributions to water polo for more than 50 years as a player, referee and administrator.

After receiving the BEM, Reg was also invited to attend a recent VIP Garden party at Buckingham Palace.

One of Reg’s many achievements was keeping Matlock Water Polo Club running on a shoestring for many years as their treasurer and league secretary.

Reg would also often donate his own money so people could enjoy the sport in Matlock.

When the club was effectively closed down in the 1980s, Reg re-established it in its present form and ran a team minibus out of his own pocket so Matlock could travel and play in the Midland League and he also took the team on tours around the country.

“Matlock Water Polo Club’s Reg Smith is truly one in a million.” – Lord Lieutenant of Derbyshire, William Tucker.

Reg has been a National Grade referee for over 30 years and presided over numerous top matches in the National League and has refereed ASA National Finals including the National County Junior Final.

He has been and still is one of the most experienced officials in the East Midlands Region and was honoured for this in 2012 with the Aquaforce Official of the Year Award for the East Midlands.

Reg has also acted as a valued mentor to junior referees across the region.

As a player, Reg was known as a true gentleman of the game and many players remember the strength of his grip, which hasn’t diminished with age!

In the Nottinghamshire League, Reg’s contribution has been enormous as an official and now he has retired from playing he has become the League Recorder – a job he relishes.

At the award ceremony, Mr Tucker explained that there are about one million people living in Derbyshire and that in both Honours Lists this year, only one BEM has been awarded in Derbyshire –making Matlock’s Reg truly ”one in a million”.