A Chester high school has congratulated its PE teacher and professional referee Cheryl Foster after she has been made an MBE.

Miss Foster, who teaches at The Bishops' Blue Coat Church of England High School, enjoyed a successful playing career which included being capped 63 times by Wales.

Since then, she has switched footballing roles and took up refereeing. She earned her FIFA badge in 2015 and was promoted to the UEFA Elite List of Referees in the 2020/21 season. In August 2018 she became the first woman to referee a game in the JD Cymru Premier.

After playing an integral role in the UEFA Women's Euro 2022 tournament, where she officiated the semi-final between Germany and France, Miss Foster - from Llandudno - became the first Welsh referee since 1978 to be a match referee at a FIFA Women's World Cup in Australia 2023.

Headteacher of Bishops' Blue Coat, Helen Cairns, relayed how proud the school was of her achievement in her latest fortnightly newsletter - which was deliberately timed to release just as the news could be revealed.

The headteacher wrote: "I am thrilled for Cheryl Foster teacher of PE who has been awarded an MBE for services to Association Football and to Women's Sport.

"Miss Foster is such a deserving recipient of this honour, and a role model for all of our students who are aspiring to be the very best version of themselves.

"Having dreamed of being a footballer as a child, she has enjoyed a successful playing career. Miss Foster made the switch over to officiating and has dedicated herself to football and refereeing for her country, whilst still being committed to her role as a teacher and Deputy Head of Sixth Form." 

Miss Foster, 43, who has also recently been awarded the St David's Award, said of the achievement: “I’m incredibly privileged to receive an MBE for my contributions to football and women's sport.

"When I was a little girl I dreamt of becoming a footballer, I am so grateful of all the opportunities I have been given to surpass this.

"This honour reflects not just my efforts but the continued support of the school who have allowed me to progress in my other career as a referee.”

Miss Foster finished this current season by officiating the Bute Energy Welsh Cup Final between Cardiff City and Wrexham.

FA Wales added Miss Foster "has also been an inspirational figure in attracting more people to consider refereeing and to get involved in the game."