Rob Burrow's sister speaks of excitement ahead of MND Burrow Strictly Ball aiming to raise £100,000

Rob Burrow's sister Joanne told the Yorkshire Evening Post she "can't wait" for the Burrow Strictly Ball - and hoped he would "be smiling all the way through" the charity event set to raise up to £100,000..

By Daniel Sheridan
Wednesday, 9th March 2022, 4:46 pm

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The event, on March 19 at Headingley Stadium, has already sold out of its 400 tickets and will be raising funds to go towards the £5m needed to build the The Rob Burrow Centre for Motor Neurone Disease.

Joanne Hartshorne and Claire Burnett, older sisters of former Leeds Rhinos player Rob Burrow, have been planning the event as the family's way of joining the fundraising campaign since shortly after their brother's Motor Neurone Disease diagnosis in December 2019.

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Rob Burrow’s sisters Joanne Hartshorne and Claire Burnett, join Leeds Rhinos legend Barrie McDermott, to launch the ‘Burrow Strictly Ball’ at Headingley Stadium. They are aiming to raise £100K in aid of the new Rob Burrow Centre for Motor Neurone Disease (MND) in Leeds - pic: Jonathan Gawthorpe

The sisters - alongside other stars including Brian McDermott - were at Headingley Stadium on Wednesday to promote the event.

Joanne, speaking to the YEP, said they "couldn't wait" for the ball.

She told of the "unbelievable support" the family had received, with celebrities from outside the world of rugby also becoming involved.

"Rob is really looking forward to it", Joanne said.

Rob Burrow’s sisters Joanne Hartshorne and Claire Burnett, join Leeds Rhinos legend Barrie McDermott, to launch the ‘Burrow Strictly Ball’ at Headingley Stadium. They are aiming to raise £100K in aid of the new Rob Burrow Centre for Motor Neurone Disease (MND) in Leeds. Picture : Jonathan Gawthorpe

"I hope he will be laughing so much all the way through it.

"It will be such a fun night."

Joanne said the event had been in the works since Rob's diagnosis.

The sisters have previously put on similar Strictly themed charity events, but nothing of this scale.

"We are nervous heading in to the last week to be honest", Joanne said.

"But we are also really excited.

"We wanted to make sure as many people as possible were aware of the ball.

"The support we have received has been unbelievable.

"The idea originally was we would get Rob to ask some of his rugby friends and he started messaging people.

"People can't say no to Rob, many would say 'how could I not do it?!'

"It has been amazing."

BBC Breakfast presenter Dan Walker and his Strictly partner, Nadiya Bychkova will be judges on the night and will perform a special showstopping dance.

Joanne said they were "very good friends" with the Burrow family and Dan has even used his Strictly links to support the event.

They will be joined by fellow Strictly contestant and Emmerdale star Kevin Fletcher, and comedian Jon Richardson, who will also judge the star-studded night.

Strictly-star Nadiya said: “‘I love to dance and there is nothing like it for bringing people together. Daniel told me all about Rob and his family and I can’t wait to be part of a very special night."

Since The Rob Burrow Centre for Motor Neurone Disease appeal launched in September 2021, £1.6 million has been raised thanks to support from the people of Leeds, the UK and beyond.

The bespoke centre will see all MND services housed under one roof for the first time. Patients will have access to a range of holistic support tailored to their needs, from speech and language therapy, to diet and nutrition advice, and physiotherapy.

Comperes for the evening include BBC Look North’s Tanya Arnold and TV presenter, Helen Skelton. Dancers include football coach and former player Brian Deane, Leeds Rhinos Legend Barrie McDermott, and Leeds Hospitals Charity’s ambassador, TV’s Dr Amir Khan, amongst others.

You can find out more and donate to The Rob Burrow Centre for Motor Neurone Disease Appeal through Leeds Hospitals Charity’s website https://www.leedshospitalscharity.org.uk/mnd

The Rob Burrow Strictly Ball takes place on March 19, 2022, at the Howard Suite at Headingley Stadium.

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