Cross-party MPs join growing calls to get Kevin Sinfield and Rob Burrow knighted

The Daily Express is campaigning to award the two former Leeds Rhinos and England players for their work in raising awareness for the life-ending condition which attacks the nerves and brain after Mr Burrow revealed he had been diagnosed with the condition.

The rugby league legends have together raised £8million and inspired a nation with their unbreakable friendship.

Today three Labour MPs and three Conservative MPs from West Yorkshire have given their backing to the crusade to give the two heroes knighthoods.

Alex Sobel, the MP for Leeds North West whose constituency includes Leeds Rhinos’ Headingley stadium along with fellow Labour MPs Yvette Cooper and Richard Burgon.

Conservative West Yorkshire MPs Andrea Jenkyns, Philip Davies and Robbie Moore have also given their support.

To back the campaign, sign our petition here.

Mr Burrow was diagnosed with MND in 2019. His former Leeds Rhinos teammate, Mr Sinfield, reduced the nation to tears when he carried his friend over the finish line at the Yorkshire city’s marathon last month after pushing him for 26.2 miles in a specially adapted wheelchair during the duo’s latest fundraising effort.

Mr Sobel said: “As rugby players for the Leeds Rhinos and England, both Kevin Sinfield and Rob Burrow became local heroes and following Rob’s diagnosis of MND they have been inspirational, showing both dedication to the sport they love and their desire to ensure the voices of the more than 5,000 people who are currently diagnosed with MND in the UK are heard.

“Since Rob’s diagnosis former teammate and Rugby coach, Kevin, has raised over £7million, for MND Charities, and the pair have raised awareness for MND. The recent Rob Burrows Marathon that ran through my constituency raised an amazing £825,000 towards a £6.8million campaign for a state-of-the-art MND centre, which Rob helped to organise.

“It was a privilege to be part of the event by running the half marathon myself. Seeing Kevin carry Rob over the finish line was a very emotional sight and shows the true bond between the two of them.

“I really hope to see Kevin & Rob being honoured in this year’s Honours List for all their hard and dedicated work both in Rugby League and in raising money and awareness for MND.”

From the Conservatives, Ms Jenkyns, the MP for Morley and Outwood, said: “Kevin Sinfield and Rob Burrow were heroes for people in Leeds for many years with their rugby exploits. But their courage in tackling MND and campaigning for better support while suffering from this awful condition is more than heroic.

“I certainly am happy to get behind the Daily Express’s crusade for them to be knighted and hope it will also draw more attention to the work on helping the people around this country who suffer from MND and hopefully finding a cure.”

Mr Davies, a GB New host and MP for Shipley, added: “I commend the Daily Express for leading this campaign. Both Rob and Kevin are an inspiration to so many people around the country and I very much hope that this will be recognised with hugely well-deserved knighthoods at the earliest opportunity.”

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Mr Burgon, Labour MP for Leeds East, said: “Rob Burrow and Kevin Sinfield were heroes in sport – and now they are heroes on an even bigger scale. Rob and Kevin have inspired people in Leeds, across the country and around the world with their incredible campaigning on MND and their awe-inspiring fundraising efforts.

“The money Rob and Kevin have raised for a groundbreaking, state-of-the-art Rob Burrow Centre for Motor Neurone Disease at Seacroft Hospital in Leeds is going to make a difference to so many people. Along with the people of Leeds, I’m proud to back the Daily Express campaign for Rob and Kevin to get the recognition they deserve.”

Rob and Kevin have transformed awareness of MND since Mr Burrow bravely went public with his diagnosis. The pair have brought hope to many through their charity work and inspired thousands of people to follow their example.

Our campaign has already received the backing of Leeds Rhinos Chief Executive Gary Hetherington and the MND Association.

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