Rugby league legend Colin Hutton to receive freedom of Hull
RUGBY league legend Colin Hutton is set to receive the Freedom of Hull.
The accolade is the highest possible honour which can be bestowed by Hull City Council.
A recommendation by the authority’s civic committee supporting the move is expected to go before the full council next month.
If agreed, Mr Hutton will become only the second sportsman to receive the honour after his long-time friend and former Hull FC star Johnny Whiteley was granted the freedom of the city three years ago.
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Councillor Sean Chaytor, who moved the idea of honouring Mr Hutton at a recent civic committee, said: “Colin has been a life-long servant of rugby league in the city and for his country.
“He has been an immense credit to the city of Hull and it is only fitting that, subject to approval by the full council, he will join Johnny Whiteley as a Freeman of Hull.”
As a player, Mr Hutton joined Hull FC in 1951 from Widnes and played 262 times for the Airlie Birds before retiring in 1957.
During his Boulevard career he kicked the winning penalty in Hull’s 10-9 victory over Halifax in the 1956 Rugby League Championship Final at Maine Road, in Manchester.
After retiring as a player, he was appointed coach at Hull Kingston Rovers and stayed in the post until 1970.
In 1962, he led the Robins to their first trophy for more than 30 years, beating favourites Huddersfield in the first Eastern Championship final at Headingley in Leeds.
He also he steered Rovers to two Yorkshire Cup victories and a Challenge Cup final appearance against his old club Widnes in 1964, losing 13-5.
Mr Hutton also coached the Great Britain team during the 1960s, winning an Ashes series against Australia in 1962.
After leaving coaching, Mr Hutton retained close links with Hull Kingston Rovers and remains the club’s president.
Two years ago he was inducted into the Rugby League Hall of fame along with Mr Whiteley in a ceremony in Huddersfield.
At the time, he said: “I always wanted to play and be involved in rugby league and if someone had told me this was to be my life then I would never have believed them.
“I was an average player, but I was determined to make something in the game and I think persistence and determination got me through.
“The other good thing about it is I have known Johnny for 59 years and we played together for six years at Hull.
“I came from Widnes to Hull and it was the best move I made in my life.”
Under the council’s rules, the Honorary Freedom of Hull is only conferred to someone who is considered to have given distinguished and eminent services to the city.
Recipients receive an ornamental scroll and a title shared by only a handful of people. As well as Mr Whiteley, other Honorary Freemen include former MPs John Prescott and Kevin McNamara, Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu.