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Football referee and mother-of-two is appointed MBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours List
A football referee has followed in her late mother’s footsteps and been appointed an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List.
Lorraine Deschamps, of Pinner Park Gardens, Harrow, was given the honour for her services to sport and diversity.
The mother-of-two became one of only two women to qualify as a level four tutor for football referees, around 14 years ago.
She then became an ambassador for the Football Association and also serves as the chair of the association's Diversity Action Group.
Brazillian-born Ms Deschamps said: “It’s a true honor to be awarded this title, especially during the Jubilee year.
“My mother, Olive, won an MBE 20 years ago for diplomatic services and I remember going to the palace with her in absolute awe. I’m so proud that this is my turn now.”
She added: "My daughter, Xuxa, 21, says now it’s her goal to be awarded an MBE too to keep on the family tradition."
The talented referee will go to Buckingham Palace in December. She says she is sorry her mother, who died two years ago, could not be there to see her getting the honour.
Ms Deschamps, who also works as a consultant for an e-learning company, began refereeing in 1995 when her then eight-year-old son, Jelani, started playing football for the Pinner Albion team.
She says watching him play inspired her to learn the rules of the game.
She said: “I’ve always loved watching football, but never got involved in playing it. When I went on a course to learn how to become a referee it was terrifying, but also the most amazing thing I’ve ever done.”
She then went on to work as a volunteer for Sporting Equals, an organisation that seeks to raise awareness of the needs of black and minority ethnic communities within sport.
Reflecting on her MBE, Ms Deschamps said: "I’m just a normal mother with a normal life.
"I’m the same as everyone. I worry about my weight and I worry about my children and I’m nothing like a supermum. I just want to help people."