Hull KR and FC legend Colin Hutton given Freedom of Hull
HE PLAYED for one team and coached another in a city known for its passion for rugby league.
Now, rugby league legend Colin Hutton has been moved to tears as he was granted the Freedom of Hull at a ceremony in the Guildhall.
"I have had some great days in my life but today leaves everything else standing by miles," he said.
"It is unbelievable."
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Accepting the accolade, the highest-possible honour that can be granted by the city council, Mr Hutton, who played for Hull FC and coached Hull KR, told how he arrived in Hull at the age of 25.
The club president of Hull KR told councillors: "We came to the city in 1951 and I immediately felt a warmth of welcome and a sense of affinity I had never experienced before.
"There was still plenty of evidence of the dreadful bomb damage the city had suffered and it was a privilege to witness the rebirth of our great city – a city I have grown to love.
"I am in disbelief that you consider me worthy of this wonderful honour that you have bestowed on me today and I thank you from the bottom of my heart."
Speaking afterwards, Mr Hutton said he had been overwhelmed by the honour of joining a select band of people and organisations to have been granted the Freedom of Hull.
"It was a great moment for me and my family.
"I admit there was a tear in my eye and a lump in my throat."
Mr Hutton has become only the second sportsman to receive the honour, following in the footsteps of his long-time friend and Hull FC legend Johnny Whiteley.
Several councillors spoke in praise of Mr Hutton's achievements during yesterday's full council meeting.
Councillor Phil Webster said: "When every club visits Craven Park, Colin is the first one there to welcome them with a big smile.
"He is a great ambassador for the club and the city of Hull. This honour is well-deserved."
Councillor Chris Sumpton, who first got to know Mr Hutton when he was a ball boy at the old Craven Park, said the club's former coach was still a respected figure across the whole of the rugby league world.
"He is a distinguished and honourable man and is the epitome of everything the two rugby league clubs stand for. Colin is rightly regarded as a legend of the sport."
Councillor Terry Geraghty, portfolio holder for sport, said he could still remember Mr Hutton's last-minute winning penalty kick in the 1956 rugby league championship at Manchester's Maine Road when he was still playing for Hull FC.
"He was part of a team that revolutionised the way the game was played and played a key role in helping Rovers move to their new ground when the club was in danger of going out of existence."