11 January 2024

Rob Burrow and Kevin Sinfield presented with CBEs by Prince of Wales in Leeds

11 January 2024

The Prince of Wales has surprised Rob Burrow and Kevin Sinfield by presenting them with their CBEs during a visit to Headingley Stadium.

William paid tribute to the pair’s “phenomenal” efforts in raising funds and awareness for motor neurone disease (MND).

Sinfield and Burrow, who were Leeds Rhinos team-mates during their playing careers, were made CBEs in the New Year Honours List for services to MND awareness.

Sinfield has raised more than £15million since his friend Burrow was diagnosed with MND, an incurable and life-limiting condition, in December 2019.

Last year, Sinfield, 43, completed the “7 in 7 in 7” challenge by completing seven ultramarathons in seven cities in as many days.

On Thursday, William met Burrow and Sinfield at the stadium, and presented them with their CBEs in front of their wives and the former’s three children.

After talking to the two friends in the dressing room at Headingley, the prince said: “I’ve brought a special couple of things up with me to give you today.

“I did check with Kevin to make sure you didn’t want to go down to London to receive this, but I brought your CBEs up here to give to you today if that’s OK, while you’re in your home, in Leeds, surrounded by your family and friends. I thought today was a good day.”

William told Burrow: “The most amount of thank yous and congratulations for all the inspirational work you’ve done Rob, you’ve been amazing and everyone’s so proud of you.

“We’ve been following your case and all the money you’ve been raising, and you’re changing people’s lives with MND.”

Presenting Sinfield with his CBE, the prince said: “A huge, huge congratulations. It’s been amazing what you’ve done. It really is.

“You’ve raised so much the profile of MND. Your brotherly bond and relationship between the two of you has been so amazing to watch – an inspiration to everyone to go, like ‘this is how we help each other’.

“The groundswell you’ve created in terms of fundraising and looking after each other and for MND is huge. Make sure you look after your knees, your hips, and everything else, but it’s been incredible.”

Burrow welcomed the prince to the venue with a message recorded on an eye gaze machine, saying: “I would like to welcome you to Headingley, the home of Leeds Rhinos, and thank you for coming today. It is an honour to meet you.”

After being described by the prince as an inspiration to the MND community, Burrow said: “I can honestly say that I never set out to be an inspiration, I just wanted to try and help other people in a similar situation to me.

“I’m just trying to live my best life with the cards that I’ve been dealt.”

He added: “I wouldn’t be here without the love and support of my wife Lindsey. She is stronger than any rugby player I ever played against.”

After being asked about their friendship, Sinfield said: “The humour’s different. It’s different in how we communicate but the humour’s still exactly the same, it’s still there. He’s still as mischievous and funny as he’s always been.”

Talking about Burrow’s reputation for “playing tricks” before big games as a player, Sinfield told William about an incident in the dressing room when Burrow rubbed a Jaffa Cake on the white underwear of another player.

The prince joked: “I’m so not telling my children Rob because that’s the sort of thing they’ll do to me.”

Burrow’s daughters Macy and Maya also presented William with three gift bags for his children.

After receiving the CBE, Burrow said: “It is an honour to accept on behalf of the whole MND community. Days like today allow us to keep the spotlight on the disease and continue to raise awareness and, hopefully, funds to fight the disease and support those who are living with MND and their families.

“It was wonderful that His Royal Highness was able to come to Headingley to see us and very much appreciated. It was lovely to talk to him and for me to meet my family.”

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