PLAYERS and spectators at a football match in South Normanton were left in shock after the referee collapsed and died just minutes after the full-time whistle.
Roger Evans (58) had just finished officiating the Central Midlands Football League (CMFL) game between South Normanton Reserves and Borrowash Victoria Reserves at the Lees Lane ground when tragedy struck on Saturday.
His death happened just days after the collapse of Premier League footballer Fabrice Muamba sent shockwaves through the world of football.
A South Normanton Reserves spokesman spoke of her shock at what had happened.
“He just collapsed and that was it. The match finished, he blew the final whistle, shook hands with both managers and collapsed,” she said.
“The paramedics came and sent for an air ambulance to take him to hospital but he did not get there.
“If he had not been feeling very well before the game he would have said, but he was fine.
“Referees have rigorous fitness tests - it’s just utter shock.”
A Central Midlands League spokesman said: “It is with great sadness I report the sudden death of Roger, who passed away after refereeing his match. Roger has been a sincere friend for 30 years and a great ambassador for the CMFL.
“Our deepest sympathy goes to his family and his many friends. Nobody is indispensable but some are missed more than others, Roger certainly comes into that bracket.”