Hundreds turn out to bid farewell to Rob Burrow

Hundreds of mourners lined the streets for a final farewell to rugby league legend and motor neurone disease (MND) campaigner Rob Burrow.

The former Leeds Rhinos star died on 2 June at the age of 41, having spent his last years raising awareness and millions of pounds for research into the degenerative condition.

His funeral was held in a private service at Pontefract Crematorium and was attended by 161 invited guests.

Among family and friends there was his closet pal and fellow MND fundraiser Kevin Sinfield, who travelled from New Zealand to join.

Although the service was for invited guests only, the public had been encouraged to line the route of his final journey.

Crowds gathered on the roads of the funeral procession route, with many people wearing rugby shirts bearing Burrow's name and shirt number seven on the back.

People travelled as far afield as London, Wigan and the Wirral to pay their respects.

As the hearse carrying his coffin passed by, it was met by applause with mourners becoming emotional.

Yellow and white flowers were thrown onto the windscreen from people standing on the road side.

Life-long Leeds Rhinos fan John Germaine said no-one would go down in history like Rob Burrow.

The 79-year-old, who came to pay his respects along with his 14-year-old grandson, described the rugby league star as a "gentleman and a fine bloke".

Sharron Rooney said she had travelled up from London.

She said: “I’m not a rugby fan but I am from Bradford. I’ve been really affected by Rob’s MND story.

"I’ve done both Leeds marathons, said I wouldn’t do it again but I’ve already signed up.

"Rob's story is heartbreaking and my heart goes out to Lindsey and Kevin Sinfield.”

Friends, family and teammates waited outside crematorium as the funeral cortege arrived.

The public had been asked to stay away from this final part of the route to allow the family some privacy.

Speaking before the service Gary Hetherington, chief executive of Leeds Rhinos, said in the early stage of Burrow's rugby career the player doubted his ability because of his height.

He said: “He did prove himself big enough… he was big in heart, spirit determination and ability. An iconic sportsman.”

Former teammate Matt Diskin described Burrow as a "tough and inspiring man".

He said: "Most people would hide behind closed doors but Rob has put himself on show and put himself in the public eye to create awareness and try find some answers for this disease.”

“He’s just a tough human being and to see how he’s handled this is just inspiring to me, to the teammates and to everyone involved in the community “

Also attending the funeral, Dr Agam Jung the consultant neurologist who led Burrow's care, said his legacy was "his courage and resilience".

"He just lived every moment.

“He has changed the whole narrative of motor neurone disease. There’s a change in direction now."

Burrow had a 17-year career that included winning eight Super League Grand Finals, three World Club Challenges and two Challenge Cups.

However in 2019, two years after his retirement from the sport, he was diagnosed with MND.

In less than five years following his diagnosis, he and his friend and former teammate Kevin Sinfield raised more than £15m for MND charities.

Burrow was made an MBE in the 2021 New Year Honours for his services to rugby league and the MND community, and was promoted to a CBE in the New Year Honours in 2024.

The father of three died at Pinderfields Hospital in Wakefield.

In a poignant final message, which Burrow asked to be shared after his death, he urged people not to "waste a moment" of their lives.