TRIBUTES have been paid to former Press sports editor and Wimbledon umpire Malcolm Huntington, at a funeral service in York, which celebrated “a life so very well lived”.
Malcolm, who covered Minstermen matches from 1968 to 2013, died last month at the age of 82, and hundreds of friends, former colleagues and family filled St Paul’s Church in Heslington yesterday.
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Thoughts and memories were shared of the man who started at the Yorkshire Evening Press in 1949 taking copy and making tea, before becoming one of the city’s most respected and loved sports writers.
Reverend Michael Sinclair led the service, and said he had known Malcolm and his widow Gina for many years, as the couple were members of the church and Rev Sinclair was closely associated with York City at the same time as Malcolm.
Rev Sinclair said: “He was a kind man with a generous ear, and many of you here today will have experienced that. He was, in a sense, a friend of every York City supporter in the city as he was so loved and respected by so many of his colleagues at work and so many members of other sports.”
Derek Boorman knew Malcolm for more than 40 years, and recounted stories of his days umpiring tennis matches around the world - which included six Wimbledon finals - with comedy and drama at customs points and hotel bars, as well as Malcolm’s patience when dealing with an angry John McEnroe.
He said: “Malcolm was able to handle that with no difficulty at all and came out of it with dignity and the game came out with dignity, but McEnroe looked stupid. But he once said although McEnroe was impossible on court, or could be, he was in fact a good man who would do anything for anybody.” Mr Boorman said Malcolm was “a devoted family man” who spoke lovingly of his family, and readings were given by his daughter Alex-Jane, son John - wearing Malcolm’s MBE medal for services to local journalism - and granddaughter Holly. She said her grandfather had been there on her first and last days of primary and secondary school, and saw her off to her Year-11 prom, and while he would not be able to see her go to her Year-13 prom, “he will be in my heart, which is all that really matters”.Three players from a 1970s second division side Graeme Crawford, Chris Topping and Chris Jones were among hundreds of mourners at the funeral.