He is probably the world’s best-known train spotter but today Sir Patrick Stewart got an honour not granted to many – unveiling a Huddersfield Town locomotive!

The Mirfield-born actor was the star guest at Huddersfield Railway Station where, in front of around 50 invited VIP guests ,he pulled back the curtain to reveal the plaque on a freight train.

There are only a handful of football-led trains in the country so even for a world-famous actor he was all too conscious of the honour.

In blazing sunshine and surrounded by Town legends such as Ray Wilson, Peter Jackson and Andy Booth, he explained how he had come to be involved in the ceremony.

Sir Patrick, Chancellor of Huddersfield University and Town’s Academy President, said the moment had a special resonance for him.

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“The platform behind me is where in March 1957 I stood on waiting for a train to take me to the Bristol Old Vic Theatre for an audition, that was a life-changing moment for me,” he said. “They offered me a place and that’s where my career began.”

He told how six years earlier he had breathlessly told his mum how he had touched the Mallard train at King’s Cross and now here he was unveiling a plaque on a freight train destined to criss-cross the country bearing the town’s pride.

Sir Patrick added: “Accepting this invitation was a ‘no-brainer’ for me. I would compare this moment to when I was elected Chancellor of the University and equally when I was asked to become President of the Huddersfield Town Academy.

“To be invited to unveil an engine with Huddersfield Town as its nameplate connects all the principal reasons I am still part of Huddersfield – the university, the club and my passion for trains. I was a train spotter – I had all the books – and I always wanted to see an engine that was a ‘namer’.”

Sir Patrick Stewart names GB Railfreight locomotive after Huddersfield Town at Huddersfield Railway Station - Sir Patrick with Huddersfield Town Directors Nigel Clibbens, Sean Jarvis, Ross Wilson and Ann Hough.
Sir Patrick Stewart names GB Railfreight locomotive after Huddersfield Town at Huddersfield Railway Station - Sir Patrick with Huddersfield Town Directors Nigel Clibbens, Sean Jarvis, Ross Wilson and Ann Hough.
 

Huddersfield Town chief executive Nigel Clibbens said that as the son of a labouring man he could never dream of such a proud moment.

“I have had lots of strange experiences in my life but nothing compares with finding myself naming a train after Huddersfield Town.” he said. “I never thought I would have the privilege of doing so.

“The club is delighted that GB Railfreight has given this honour to Huddersfield Town.

“It’s with pride that the name to grace a locomotive once again after a 50 year absence. We’re really looking forward to seeing the locomotive haul trains not only through Yorkshire, but across the whole of England.

“It’s wonderful that in a World Cup year we could share this moment with our very own legendary World Cup winner Ray Wilson and to have the locomotive unveiled by a lifelong, ardent Huddersfield Town fan in Sir Patrick Stewart makes it extra-special.”

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