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Durham University

Durham University News


Hockey and Rugby veterans receive sporting honour

(10 June 2004)

Two former Durham students and champions of English Rugby and Hockey are to be honoured with a place in their old University’s sporting hall of fame.

Tom Danby (British Lion, England Rugby) and Gavin Featherstone (England Hockey) will receive their Honorary Palatinates from the Vice Chancellor, Sir Kenneth Calman.

Palatinates are the “sporting colours” of the University presented each year to prominent students in a wide range of sports. The Honorary Palatinates are given to graduates of Durham who have made their mark at international level.

Gavin Featherstone began his career as an apprentice footballer at Fulham FC, moving into Hockey where his talent stood out. Whilst studying at Durham, Gavin Captained the 1st XI Men’s Hockey Club, he also became Vice President of the Durham University Athletic Union and played hockey for the British Universities Team. For England he was team captain at all levels before moving onto coaching. Gavin has coached England men’s and women’s U21’s to World Cup level and has taken the USA and South Africa men’s teams to the Olympics in 1984 and 1996 respectively. Gavin is currently working for Sports Labs as a senior consultant looking at pitch playability.

Tom Danby was a Durham student during the Second World War from 1943-45 studying for a Teaching Certificate. Tom began playing rugby during his school days in Barnard Castle and after being evacuated from Durham to St John’s in York he took up the sport again. Tom’s National Service was deferred for a year after he broke his collar bone, he then played for Durham County, Gateshead Fell and Kings Medical College. He was later invited to play for Harlequins and it was during his time there that he made his debut for England in 1949. He was selected to for the British Lions Tour of Australia playing in 18 of the 24 matches and setting a record by scoring 34 tries. Tom hung up his boots in 1954 after several England Caps.

Peter Warburton, Director of Sport, said: “We are proud to have graduates who have gone onto excel at their chosen sports. They have not only made fantastic contributions to national and international sport but are also an inspiration to our current students.”

Gavin and Tom join fellow Durham graduates who have already been awarded Honorary Palatinates:

Rugby: Will Carling, Phil de Glanville, Peter Dixon, Mark Bailey
Cricket: Frank Tyson, Nasser Hussain
Athletics: Jonathan Edwards
Football: Warren Bradley
Rowing and other sports: Jock Wishart
Gavin and Tom will receive their Honorary Palatinates alongside current University students during the annual Palatinate Dinner held on 10 June 2004 at Ramside Hall Hotel.

For further information and photo opportunities contact:

Helen Swain, Public Relations Office, University of Durham, 0191 334 0017

Notes to Editors

Durham has had an extremely successful year securing a unique 'triple crown' in university sporting history by winning the BUSA Rowing Championship and the Rugby Union title to add to the Cricket honours they currently hold.