Kevin Sinfield OBE - Leeds Rhinos legend dedicates latest honour to fellow Rob Burrow fund-raisers
Leeds Rhinos legend Kevin Sinfield says he is “honoured” to have been made an OBE and has dedicated the award to everyone involved in fund-raising for his former teammate Rob Burrow.
Sinfield, already an MBE, has been recognised in the Queen’s birthday list for his services to charity since Burrow was diagnosed with motor neurone disease (MND) at the end of 2019.
The Rhinos director of rugby raised more than £2m for the MND Association by running seven marathons in as many days last December.
His efforts have also boosted awareness nationwide of the terminal condition, which has no known cure.
“I found out a couple of weeks ago,” Sinfield - known to fans as ‘Sir Kev’ - said of his latest award.
“It is really nice, it was an email this time and I thought it was a joke, but it is a big honour.
“The work we’ve done for Rob - I say we, the club and everybody who’s been involved in some sort of fundraising - it is all to do with that.
“It is for all those people who have given a little bit of themselves to Rob and to help making his journey a little bit easier.
“And then, of course, to all of the Burrow family, it is for them too.”
Sinfield was made an MBE in the 2014 birthday honours for services to rugby league, but believes being recognised for his charity work is an even greater accolade.
“It’s really nice,” he added.
“The rugby stuff was brilliant, but I have got such a great deal of satisfaction from the bits we’ve done with Rob and the MND Association.
“I think all of us involved have been massively touched by the support, the generosity and the love and respect people have not only for Rob, but the whole MND community.
“To get some recognition for that is lovely.”
He stressed: “Not by any stretch do I feel it’s about me, because it isn’t.
“It’s about everybody who has played a small part.
“I am very, very grateful that people who are challenged by MND daily understand that people care about that.”
Sinfield is one of the most decorated players of his generation, having captained England and won seven Grand Finals and two Challenge Cups with Leeds.
He retired from rugby league after leading Leeds to every available trophy in 2015 - when he was runner-up for the BBC’s sports personality of the year award - and spent a year with Carnegie rugby union before joining the RFL.
He returned to Rhinos as director of rugby three years ago, but created national headlines with his seven marathons in seven days last winter.
“I feel pretty selfish on the back of the seven in seven because I never thought doing something like that would be able to give me that much satisfaction and the warm glow I got,” he added.
“Ultimately, I was just trying to help a mate, but the support was immense and the money we were able to generate and having a say in how that was spent has been wonderful for all of us involved.
“Over that period I reflected a lot about my journey and some of the experiences I’ve had and it has certainly been the greatest thing I’ve been a part of.”