Hot on the heels of being appointed to referee at the Rio Olympic Games, Gabriel Lee Wing Yi was named Referee of the Year at a star-studded dinner in Hong Kong last week.
Her award was a culmination of a great night for refereeing, with three of the nine new HKRU Hall of Fame inductees coming from the whistling community. Lt Commander Harry J Brickwood MBE, RN, Bill Mason and Tobi Lothian joined the now 28-strong Hall of Fame.
Lt Commander Brickwood was attached to the then Royal Navy Base at Tamar in Hong Kong from 1974 through 1987. As an RFU qualified referee, he was involved with the Hong Kong Society of Rugby Union Referees as both a match official and a referee coach. To this day his service to refereeing is memorialized by the Harry Brickwood Trophy presented each year to the referee who has contributed most throughout the season to the spirit of the Society. Brickwood refereed at the inaugural 1976 Hong Kong Sevens and was a key proponent of Schools rugby. He coached at St Georges School, which served the children of British Forces personnel from 1955 to 1997 and served on the Schools Rugby Committee. He was made a life member of the Royal Navy Rugby Union in 1977. After leaving Hong Kong in 1987 he served as Navy Rugby Secretary from 1988 to 1994.
Tobi Lothian, the current President of the Hong Kong Society of Rugby Union Referees, was the top ref of his era and remains the last local referee to officiate the World Rugby Sevens Series competition in Hong Kong. He also refereed numerous internationals throughout the region as a member of the Asia Rugby panel and officiated the 2013 Natixis Cup; the first French professional club match played in Asia.
Bill Mason, pictured right, a former Hong Kong international, graduated to the refereeing ranks after retiring as a player, going on to become one of Hong Kong’s top referees and handling numerous test matches as well as refereeing in the Hong Kong Sevens.
Congratulations to all four referees recognised by the HKRU.