Man with MND scales seven peaks in Burrow's honour

A man with motor neurone disease (MND) has completed a challenge to scale seven peaks in three weeks in honour of the late Rob Burrow.

Ian Flatt, from North Yorkshire, began his challenge on Whernside, the highest of Yorkshire's famous Three Peaks route, on 15 June and completed it at Roseberry Topping on Sunday.

Mr Flatt, 58, who uses a wheelchair, was helped up mountains in England, Scotland and Wales by up to 70 friends and family.

He described weather conditions on some of the days as "brutal", but said Burrow and the MND community had got him through it.

Following the ascent of Whernside, the challenge continued with Wild Boar Fell in the Yorkshire Dales, Yr Wyddfa, also known as Snowdon, in North Wales, Pen-y-Fan, in South Wales, Ben Chonzie in Scotland and Skiddaw in the Lake District.

It culminated with Roseberry Topping, nicknamed the Yorkshire Matterhorn, in North Yorkshire.

Mr Flatt, from Green Hammerton, said it had been "particularly significant" to have completed the challenge on the day of Burrow's funeral.

Ian Flatt being pulled up a mountain
Mr Flatt described the challenge as "tough but incredible fun" [BBC]

"When we set about planning this challenge last August, the first parameter that we had was that we had to finish on 7 July - Rob Burrow Day," he said.

"At that point we didn't even know which mountains we were going to tackle, it was of course with the hope that Rob would join us on that last mountain."

He continued: "As Rob sadly passed away, it just became more and more significant and important to the whole team that we had to do something for Rob on that day of all days."

Mr Flatt described the epic challenge as "tough but incredible fun", adding he had "been inspired and absolutely privileged to be around some wonderful people".

"There were times I wondered if we would get through it," he said.

"The inclines take quite a toll, but ultimately I'm doing something I really love with people who are very special."

He added: "I'm doing it inspired by Rob, by the MND community, so a little bit of discomfort is fine by me."

Rob Burrow's widow, Lindsey Burrow, with Ian Flatt Whernside in North Yorkshire
Rob Burrow's widow, Lindsey Burrow, joined Mr Flatt to climb Whernside in North Yorkshire [BBC]

Mr Flatt, who relies on a ventilator for up to 18 hours a day, was diagnosed with MND in 2019, just months before the Leeds Rhinos rugby league star and fellow MND campaigner.

He said his seven-peak challenge was inspired by Burrow's number seven shirt he wore for Leeds Rhinos.

His endeavour has raised more than £22,000 for the Leeds Hospitals Charity Rob Burrow Centre for MND Appeal.

Burrow's diagnosis came two years after he retired from a 17-year career which saw him win eight Super League Grand Finals, three World Club Challenges and two Challenge Cups.

He died at the age of 41 on 2 June.

His funeral took place on Sunday at Pontefract Crematorium, with thousands of mourners lining the route of the funeral cortege.

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