THREE leading football officials including the EFL’s first female referee will take part in a rare Q&A session in aid of a North East mental health charity.

Washington-born Rebecca Welsh, who made history when she took charge of her first League Two game earlier this month. Mrs Welsh will be joined by Premier League referee Martin Atkinson and her EFL colleague Trevor Kettle for the online seminar on Thursday.

The 'webinar' moderator is former Premier League and UEFA ref Alan Wilkie, from Chester-le-Street.

The event, organised by Northumbria University student Joe Blackbourne, will allow fans direct access to the top English officials, as well as raise funds for the If U Care Share charity.

The charity works in football academies and colleges to help suicide prevention and mental health issues among young people.

It is free but participants are encouraged to make a minimum £5 donation which will go to the Chester-le-Street-based organisation.

Those donating will also enter a raffle for prizes including a VIP table at Leila Lily's, in Newcastle, and a one-night stay at City Suites in Manchester.

Mr Blackbourne said: “In our final year modules, myself and five other course students are required to deliver an online event. "We are hugely excited to have pulled together such a fantastic group of referees and in particular ‘our own North East history-making Rebecca Welch'.

"Martin Atkinson has 16 years-plus experiences at the very top of the game and we look forward to his many stories.

"Trevor also has a vast wealth of experience and moderator. "Alan Wilkie was the referee who sent off Eric Cantona at Selhurst Park on the night he infamously jumped into the crowd.

“This is a fantastic opportunity to listen to their stories.

"We are grateful for the support of our hosting partner Give to Local and event supporter Park Commercial Corporate Insurance Brokers. Who collectively, have come together to raise money for If U Care Share a charity that truly believes that talking can save lives.”

The webinar will take place on Thursday April 15, 6pm to 8pm.

Registration is required and can be done through this link: while donations can be made via: