inspirations - local people who change the world
Captain packs a punch
He's better known for his exploits on the rugby field, but there's more to Lee Radford than meets the eye
That was the compliment paid by Hull FC head coach Peter Sharp to back-row forward Lee Radford when he named the local lad captain of the Black and Whites for 2007.
The 27-year-old is Hull's first English captain since Karl Harrison led the side in 1999, and the announcement last month capped a memorable year for the man affectionately known as 'Radders.'
A no-nonsense player who commands admiration from his teammates, Lee is a family man, part-time coach and local fun-draiser, and now the inspiration on the field for his home club, which he joined from Bradford Bulls.
"It's a real honour to be captain of Hull FC. It is a bit daunting really, but something I am really looking forward to," said Lee.
"I was captain of Hull's academy side when I was 17, so I have a history of leading out Hull teams. I also have captained academy sides for Great Britain and was vice captain for England, so I'm no stranger to it.
"I have played in plenty of teams where we have won silverware and have watched other captains go and collect trophies. Now I would love to have that opportunity with Hull FC.
"That is what I am hoping for and it will be a special achievement if the team can go on and win something this season," said Lee, who returned to Hull after winning every domestic honour in the game with the Bulls.
"It's a great position to be in when a captain can look around the field and see the likes of Richard Swain, Paul Cooke and Richard Horne."
Lee is married, with two sons, and chooses to spend lots of quality time with his family, but even so, he manages to get involved in grass-roots sports and fund-raising for good causes.
He is also a key part of the community work in local schools and sports clubs. His dedication has also seen him prove to be a fine part-time coach with local amateur side East Hull.
After finishing a day's training, he is regularly seen putting the East Hull players through their paces at Rosmead Street.
And on February 2, Lee took on one of his toughest challenges yet when he stepped into a boxing ring in front of more than 2,000 people at Hull Arena to fight former team-mate Stuart Fielden.
The bout was Lee's own idea, in order to support Steve Prescott, a former Hull FC player, who has been diagnosed with cancer. The 'Rumble by the Humber, was meticulously planned, with Lee at the centre of a high-profile media campaign to raise thousands of pounds for his friend.
"I was asked about a sponsored bike ride, which I provisionally agreed to, but when I put the phone down I realised cycling wasn't my cup of tea!" said Lee.
"I'd read about charity boxing events in Australia - Tawera Nikau had one and so did Mal Meninga - and they raised thousands of dollars for their charities.
"I knew it would be a good idea and that Stuart would be up for it, so I made a phone call and we sorted it. It was a great challenge and one I trained for relentlessly for three months. Hopefully it'll help me during the rugby league season."
Demand for tickets meant the venue was switched from a suite at the KC Stadium to the arena.
If aspiring Hull sportsmen and women want to learn about the dedication to succeed, taking a leaf out of Lee Radford's book would be a knockout place to start.