CBeebies: Leeds Rhinos legend Rob Burrow to make history reading Bedtime Story on TV using tech to speak in Yorkshire accent

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Leeds Rhinos legend and fundraising champion Rob Burrow will make history when he reads a CBeebies Bedtime Story using special technology.

The 40-year-old, who uses a computer to talk after being diagnosed with motor neurone disease, will read Tom Percival’s Tilda Tries Again to mark International Day of Persons with Disabilities. The story is about a girl who suddenly finds her world changed and things that were once easy more challenging. It will be the first time on the BBC children’s show a story is read using the special eye-controlled gear, which is able to recreate a version of Burrow’s Yorkshire accent. The sports star, diagnosed in 2019, said: “I used to love reading to my own children as part of their bedtime routine. I was so excited and honoured to be given the opportunity to read a CBeebies Bedtime Story. Reading and literacy are so important. It doesn’t matter what your disability is, reading is accessible to everyone.

“Anyone can enjoy reading and develop a love of books and bedtime stories, just like me and my family.”

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Burrow was accompanied into the CBeebies studio by his wife Lindsey and two of the pair’s children, Maya, seven, and Jackson, three. The youngsters directed their father from the TV gallery, helped count down and shouted “action” when the cameras started rolling. Burrow will follow in the footsteps of England and Tottenham striker Harry Kane, who appeared on the popular show in October to read a story about overcoming fear and finding one’s inner lion through self-belief. Singer Harry Styles, Captain America star Chris Evans, Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl and British actor Tom Hiddleston have also appeared on CBeebies Bedtime Stories.

Rob Burrow, pictured with his wife Lindsey in 2021.Rob Burrow, pictured with his wife Lindsey in 2021.
Rob Burrow, pictured with his wife Lindsey in 2021.

Tilda Tries Again is an inspirational tale that tells of how Tilda finds a new way to approach her problems – and believe in herself. It will be read by Burrow on CBeebies Bedtime Story at 6.50pm on Saturday December 3.

The former Rhinos star’s battle with MND has helped to raise hundreds of thousands of pounds for charities towards finding a cure. A city-wide race next year has been named the Rob Burrow Leeds Marathon 2023 in his honour, and more than 10,000 people have already signed up.

Meanwhile, his pal and ex-Leeds teammate Kevin Sinfield was hailed as a "true hero" earlier this month, after his own mammoth seven-day fundraising challenge in aid of MND surpassed the £2m mark. Sir Kev previously ran seven marathons in seven days and 101 miles in just 24 hours, raising more than £5m for MND charities in the process. Part of the fundraising is being pledged to help build a groundbreaking new £5m Rob Burrow Centre for Motor Neurone Disease in Leeds. Demolition work got under way this month to prepare the way for the construction of the centre which will be based at Seacroft Hospital.

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The Burrow family and Leeds Hospitals Charity began the £5m appeal to raise funds for the new facility back in September 2021, with proceeds from the Ultra 7 in 7 challenge bringing the current fundraising total to more than £3m.