My Yorkshire: President of Yorkshire County Cricket Club Richard Hutton on his favourite people and places

Richard Hutton, son of Sir Len Hutton.
Richard Hutton, son of Sir Len Hutton.
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Richard Hutton, the former Yorkshire and England all-rounder, is President of Yorkshire County Cricket Club. The eldest son of Sir Len Hutton, the 75-year-old lives near Wetherby.

What is your first Yorkshire memory? I remember spending Christmases in Wykeham near Scarborough where my maternal grandfather George Dennis lived when my father was away on winter tours to Australia and South Africa. I can also remember going to the Headingley Test in 1948 against Australia on one of the days, and then in 1953 I remember watching my father – again at Headingley – being bowled second ball by Ray Lindwall. His dismissal left me in floods of tears and my mother had to take me out of the seat to hide.

The Yorkshireman Richard Hutton most admires is his father, the legendary cricketer Len Hutton.

The Yorkshireman Richard Hutton most admires is his father, the legendary cricketer Len Hutton.

What is your favourite part of Yorkshire and why? I love Yorkshire’s wide open spaces, so any of the areas which have rolling plains and hillsides in the North and East Ridings. Central and South Yorkshire have now become too crowded for my liking. In the past, the cricket grounds at Scarborough and Bradford Park Avenue would have been some of my favourite places. Now, my favourite view is the walled garden at Ribston Park which I can stare at when eating my breakfast.

What is your idea of a perfect day out or weekend away in Yorkshire? To have all the family together at the same time and to teach cricket on the lawn to my four grandchildren. Then, a sumptuous dinner in the evening consisting of five courses and a vintage wine with each. After all that, it would be upstairs to bed.

Do you have a favourite walk or view in Yorkshire? I was put off walking when I was at prep school near Wetherby. I remember the long crocodile walks which were a compulsory alternative to games in the afternoon because it was too wet to play. We walked for what seemed miles from Wood Hall to Linton or Sicklinghall. Mind you, I enjoyed walking back to my bowling mark when I was taking wickets for Yorkshire.

Which Yorkshire sportsman, past or present, would you like to take out for lunch? Undoubtedly, it would be Fred Trueman, who was a constant source of amusement, not only to those he played with but also to those he played against. Other counties would look forward to playing against us if Fred was in the team and it was true that he spent more time in the opposition dressing room than ours. He could be very funny. My second choice would be John Charles of Leeds United and Wales, in my opinion, the best footballer of all time. I once had a short conversation with him when I was young, but he was so Welsh, I couldn’t understand a word John was saying.

Scarborough Cricket  Club used to be one of Richard Hutton's favourite haunts. Picture by Richard Ponter.

Scarborough Cricket Club used to be one of Richard Hutton's favourite haunts. Picture by Richard Ponter.

Which Yorkshire stage or screen star, past or present, would you like to take out to dinner? I have three: Alan Bennett, Michael Palin and Tom Courtenay, but not necessarily in that order. I know two have been keen on sport, but am not sure about Bennett’s sporting credentials. However, I have always enjoyed his plays, screenplays and his doleful manner of speaking. I would watch anything by him and I particularly liked Kafka’s Dick, The Madness of King George and The History Boys.

What is it do you think that gives Yorkshire its unique identity? Few counties can claim to have Yorkshire’s agricultural and industrial base. The range of activity, enterprise and organisations in the county virtually gives it the status of an independent nation. Yorkshire people are often characterised as having dour exteriors, but within them resides a passion for something or other. In some cases that turns them into professional Yorkshiremen or women.

Who is the Yorkshire person you admire the most? My father, of course. His achievements speak for themselves and he had great courage in adversity. I remember when his back was in a plaster cast for six months. It was a living hell and he couldn’t tie his shoelaces. After the war, he carried England’s batting for years. When he was knighted in 1956,we were sitting in the audience and the Queen asked him: “How is your back?” After the investiture at Buckingham Palace, we went for lunch with Dame Peggy Ashcroft.

Other than cricket, which other sports do you follow in the county? I used to be an avid supporter of Leeds United and as a child I would beg my father to take me to Elland Road on Saturdays. That was in the 1950s and we never believed that Leeds would go on and have such great success in the 1960s and beyond. But I grew out of football a long time ago. Now, I follow horse racing and study form to exercise my brain.

Do you have a favourite pub or restaurant? We like the Alice Hawthorn at Nun Monkton near York. It serves good food at a reasonable price. Recently, we’ve been to the Malt Shovel at Brearton near Knaresborough. We also get very fine food at Ribston Hall from owners Charlie and Annie Dent.

How do you think Yorkshire has changed since you’ve known it. Is it for the better or worse? Economically, the county is far better balanced than when it depended on coal, steel and textiles. Employment opportunities are much wider now. On the other hand, Yorkshire has become much more polarised – geographically, socially, culturally and politically. I know that diversity is all the rage these days, but to me unity would seem to be the greater force for good.

If you had to name your hidden Yorkshire gem, what would it be? My wife Charmaine.