HE’S instantly recognisable as a real giant of the sporting world.
Now Eorl Crabtree is to make his name in the world of academia.
Crabtree, one of the most feared forwards in Rugby League, is to be honoured by his home-town university.
He will receive an Honorary Fellowship from the University of Huddersfield, following in the footsteps of Town striking legend Andy Booth.
Crabtree’s honour was confirmed today as the university also revealed that a pioneer of fashion retailing, a man who fine-tuned the world’s fastest racing cars and a musician who changed the language of electric guitar playing will also be honoured.
The diverse group have all been granted honorary awards.
For the rampaging Huddersfield Giants pack star Crabtree, 27, the award of an Honorary Fellowship comes in his testimonial year, granted by the Rugby Football League for 10 years’ loyal service to his home town club.
Crabtree, the biggest player in the UK game and instantly recognisable for his flowing locks, has made well over 220 appearances for the Giants and has also become a regular member of the England squad, knocking the Aussies back on their heels in a series of bruising encounters.
He said: “It’s absolutely fantastic. I just get on with my job and to be honoured like this is wonderful.
“It is a massive, massive honour. I am very proud of Huddersfield and I always do what I can to help the town.
“I went to Meltham CE Primary School and Honley High School and then signed for the club at 16. Part of the club’s scholarship scheme has allowed me to study sports management studies at the university, but this is a huge surprise.”
Another figure from the world of sport who will receive an award – Honorary Doctor of the University (HonDUniv) – is Steve Hallam, who began his career in automotive engineering, a speciality of the university, helping to develop some legendary Aston Martin cars. The marque was owned by David Brown.
In 1982 he moved into Formula One as race engineer for Team Lotus, working on cars for Nigel Mansell, Ayrton Senna and Nelson Piquet. In 1990 he joined McLaren and contributed to world championships, including that of Lewis Hamilton in 2008.
World-renowned musician Fred Frith, born and raised in Yorkshire, also becomes an Honorary Doctor.
A songwriter, composer and multi-instrumentalist who helped to redefine electric guitar technique, Fred was a member of cult band Henry Cow in the 1970s.
Rita Britton, who will be made an Honorary Doctor, founded the dress boutique Pollyanna in 1967 in her native Barnsley, where the University of Huddersfield has a campus.
Now, 43 years later, Pollyanna is Britain’s oldest independent fashion retailer.
Terry Hodgkinson, Skipton-born, has more than 30 years’ experience in fields such as property development, the conservation of historical buildings and the redevelopment of brownfield sites.
He currently chairs the regeneration agency Yorkshire Forward. He gets an HonDUniv.
Huddersfield-born Kathryn Hinchliff began her career as a nurse in 1972 and by the age of 24 was sister for the coronary care unit at the town’s Royal Infirmary.
She also continued her studies and eventually moved into key nurse management roles. Among her many achievements was the establishment of the Northern School of Child and Adolescent Psychotherapy.
Also a recipient of the HonDUniv in the July awards is the innovative architect Peter Clegg, who practises and teaches on a global scale. In 1978 he was a founder of Feilden Clegg Bradley Architects, which has a reputation for sustainable design and innovation, with a strong track record in education and community buildings.