'You have to get stuck in' - Basketball ref Dick fighting coronavirus on frontline

A basketball referee is helping to fight the coronavirus pandemic, in the latest chapter of an inspirational life story.

Respected official Dick Weavill has been working on the healthcare frontline in Grimsby as a critical care nurse, having retrained through the University of Hull at the age of 62.

What makes Dick even more remarkable is the fact he returned to work just months after fighting his own battle with prostate cancer.

His resilience and hard work won’t be a surprise to those that know him, with 23 years service in the Royal Air Force and more than a decade in the police force already on his CV.

Buckinghamshire-born Dick’s career as a referee spans 30 years, following in his father’s footsteps both in the RAF and as a basketball official.

He first picked up the whistle in 1977, covering games across England, including National League fixtures, and now takes charge of local games in Lincolnshire.

There was a brief break from his busy schedule and work life, but it wasn’t long before he was looking for the next challenge.

“I retired in 2013," he said. "I was 56 and did that for a year or so and thought, ‘this is boring!’ sitting around all day doing nothing.

“So I thought, ‘what can I do now?’ I first thought about being a paramedic but felt I was too old to be blue-lighting around everywhere like a mad man so why don’t I try nursing?

“I went for an interview and got in! So I qualified as a nurse in 2018.

“Then Covid happened. You just have to take it on the chin - we have all the protective equipment you need so you just have to get stuck in.”

Despite an eventual 12 months - and career - he has no desire to slow down, only to return to the floor and referee at the highest level he possibly can.

“Once the season starts up, I’ll be throwing myself into it again,” he said.

“I’m just going to go on forever! I’m going to keep going until I can’t do it anymore.

“I love the game, the technicalities, communicating with the players.

“I would like to referee at national league level again, I think I’ve got a lot of experience and wisdom and I can see the game from both points of view.

"It’s about letting players play basketball and only using your whistle only when you need to.

“I shall be fit as a butcher’s dog in a few months’ time and be running around like a mad man!”