Rob Burrow and Kevin Sinfield receive freedom of Leeds

Josh McAllister
Rob Burrow

People applaud as Rob Burrow receives the Freedom of the City of Leeds at Leeds Civic Hall in recognition of his campaigning and fundraising work for all those affected by motor neurone disease. Picture by Danny Lawson/PA Wire/PA Images.

Rob Burrow and Kevin Sinfield were today officially granted the Freedom of Leeds for their outstanding work in raising awareness for motor neurone disease. 

Burrow and Sinfield were granted the honour for their sporting achievements and work to support those with MND at a ceremony in Leeds on Wednesday.

Burrow was diagnosed with MND in 2019, and was joined by his family at the event.

The former Leeds and England half-back spoke during the ceremony via ground-breaking technology that allows him to communicate via blinking at a screen.

He said: “I’m speechless. Thanks for my entire family for their help and support throughout the three years, especially my wife and kids who give me reason to never give in.

“Finally to Kevin, who has gone above and beyond for his mate.”

Sinfield’s most recent challenge, Ultra 7 in 7, saw him raise more than £2million, with the initial target of £777,777, in aid of MND. The challenge concluded at the Rugby League World Cup final at Old Trafford, having started in Edinburgh.

Sinfield was unable to attend due to commitments linked to his new role with the England rugby union team.

Rob Burrow accepts Freedom of Leeds at ceremony

Burrow was at the ceremony with his family to hear council leader James Lewis describe how the duo have “brought the search for a cure to the forefront of public attention”.

Bob Bowman, the chief executive of the Leeds Rhinos Foundation, accepted the honour on Sinfield’s behalf.

The pair shared a dressing room at the Rhinos for nearly 15 years, winning seven Super League titles together as team-mates, with Burrow going on to lift an eighth after Sinfield’s retirement.

Lewis said the council was determined to honour the pair together due to the “bond of friendship between them”.

He said: “That friendship has touched people so much.”

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