Former Leeds Rhinos teammates Rob Burrows and Kevin Sinfield have been awarded the freedom of Leeds award for their fundraising efforts for motor neurone disease.
Rob Burrows was diagnosed with MND in late 2019 after he had retired from the sport and since the pair have helped raise awareness and funds for the charity which included Sinfield’s latest feat seven ultra-marathons in seven days in which he raised £2.7.
Leeds City Council said the former Leeds Rhino teammates had been chosen for the city’s highest civic honour for their: “courage, commitment and inspirational strength of character”
They also said the pair had “touched hearts right around the world” during their fundraising, reflecting “the very best of Leeds”.
“Rob’s response to his diagnosis was typically positive and selfless, with the last three years seeing him championing the raising of funds and awareness for all those affected by the disease,” it said.
“Kevin, meanwhile, has followed his old friend’s lead by embarking on a series of gruelling endurance challenges that have raised millions of pounds for MND-related causes.”
On 11th January 2023, the pair will be made an honourary freeman of the city during a ceremony at Leeds Civic Hall where their names will be added to an engraved roll of honour in the building.
They will join an iconic list that includes Sir Winston Churchill, Nelson Mandela, Alan Bennett and members of the 1967-74 Leeds United side.
Burrow said: “Having spent my entire adult life as part of the Leeds Rhinos family, it meant so much to me during my career to be able to bring joy to the people of Leeds with our success on the field.
“When you look down the distinguished list of previous recipients of this honour, it makes this acknowledgement from the city even more outstanding and I am deeply humbled to receive it, especially alongside Kevin, a man who continues to set the example for all of us to follow.”
Sinfield said: “[he was] deeply honoured and Whilst it was a joy to bring sporting success to our city on the field, the way the people of Leeds in particular have shown their love and support for my friend Rob Burrow and his family since his MND diagnosis says everything about what a wonderful city Leeds is and I accept this award on behalf of all those people who have done so much for our community.”
Feature Image Credit: Leeds City Council Press Office