August 15, 2001

Yorkshire unveil Hutton Gates


Yorkshire today officially opened the new Sir Leonard Hutton Gates at Headingley, the day before the Fourth npower Test is due to start.

It was finally agreed that Robin Smith, the club's president, would open the gates rather than former Prime Minister John Major.

Richard Hutton, Sir Leonard's son, was introduced by the president at the unveiling of the gates that depict Asian women watching Sir Leonard in action. The design of the gates has caused quite a stir in Yorkshire.

Mr Smith was presented with a cheque for £2.9 million from Sport England as the clouds came over Headingley. He thanked Sport England, as well as the ECB and Leeds City Council for their support.

He said "Yorkshire have played cricket here for over a century, and as you can see from our immediate surroundings here Headingley is still batting and is well on course for its second century."

Smith then gave his thoughts on the gates, "The gates were planned by the Yorkshire committee as a tribute to a great player and a great man.

"In my view, by setting Sir Leonard's deeds in the continuum of Headingley as one of the world's leading international grounds yesterday, today and tomorrow, the objective has been achieved."

One of the guests 'Dickie' Bird, the former Yorkshire and Leicestershire batsmen and famous umpire added, "Len was a fantastic friend of mine, and all the controversy surrounding this is a terrible shame.

"The gates are a fitting tribute, but he deserves better than the furore regarding the Asian women.

"It is ridiculous - Asians are a part of Leeds and a part of cricket. Asian cricketers are the future and need to be encouraged."

Ray Illingworth, another guest agreed: "After all the controversy about the opening of the gates, I thought the president did it very well," he said. "He mentioned all the people who needed to be mentioned."

It was fitting that Sir Leonard's son should have the last words, saying: "I would like to say how flattered my family feel that Yorkshire County Cricket Club should create this memorial to my father.

"Never have so many done so much to ensure that this monument is the most famous to be erected on any cricket ground anywhere in the world."