Kevin Sinfield has played down talk he deserves a knighthood – insisting the Government should focus on continuing to fund research into motor neurone disease instead.
Calls have been growing for the man nicknamed ‘Sir Kev’ by Leeds Rhinos fans to be officially given that title after he raised more than £1.5million in the fight against MND by running 101 miles in 24 hours.
Boxing legend Frank Bruno said he hoped the honours committee ‘have been following what Kevin has done,’ while Manchester mayor Andy Burnham said: ‘To the powers that be in this country… I know a lot of people want to see that and here those immortal words, “Arise Sir Kevin”.’
Sinfield was awarded an OBE in the summer after he raised more than £2.7m in support of his former team-mate and MND sufferer Rob Burrow last year by running seven marathons in seven days.
But asked about being upgraded to a ‘Sir’ after his latest fundraising feats, the Leicester Tigers coach said: ‘It’s really nice but I’d much rather the Government keep giving funds to MND and to try and find a cure.
‘It’s not about that (honours). The big driver is the Rob Burrow Care Centre in Leeds. It’s really important to all of us. The sooner we can get that open the better.’
Kevin Sinfield (right) refused to entertain any talk of him being awarded a knighthood in the new year after he raised more than £1.5m for the MND Association and Leeds Hospitals Charity
Ex-rugby star Sinfield ran almost four marathons in total across the space of just 24 hours
Sinfield makes his way to Outwood Primary Academy from Leicester and Leeds on Tuesday
What is Motor Neurone Disease?
Motor neurone disease is a rare condition that mainly affects people in their 60s and 70s, but it can affect adults of all ages.
It’s caused by a problem with cells in the brain and nerves called motor neurones. These cells gradually stop working over time. It’s not known why this happens.
Having a close relative with motor neurone disease, or a related condition called frontotemporal dementia, can sometimes mean you’re more likely to get it. But it doesn’t run in families in most cases.
Early symptoms can include weakness in your ankle or leg, like finding it hard to walk upstairs; slurred speech, finding it hard to swallow, a weak grip, and gradual weight loss
If you have these symptoms, you should see a GP. They will consider other possible conditions and can refer you to a specialist called a neurologist if necessary.
If a close relative has motor neurone disease or frontotemporal dementia and you’re worried you may be at risk of it – they may refer you to a genetic counsellor to talk about your risk and any tests you can have
Source: NHS UK
Sinfield completed his run from Leicester to Leeds inside 24 hours on Tuesday morning and admitted on Wednesday he was ‘a bit broken but it was worth every step’.
Attention is already turning to another fundraising challenge next year and he told BBC Breakfast: ‘We will go again. It is quite hard to think of something and be creative that gets people but we will go again.’
Sinfield’s journey from Leicester to Leeds was split into seven kilometre segments.
In December 2020, Sinfield helped raise over £2.7m by running seven marathons in seven days.
Burrow, married to teenage sweetheart Lindsey and is dad to Macy, nine, Maya, six, and Jackson, two, was diagnosed with motor neurone disease in 2019 and given just two years to live.
The Rugby League legend, who is now wheelchair-bound, was at the finish line on Tuesday with his wife and oldest daughter Macy joining Sinfield for the final few steps of his challenge on the Headingley pitch.
The demanding ordeal left Sinfield physically ill and he has been urged to scale back his dare-devil exploits.
Sinfield was unable to speak to waiting reporters as he was whisked away immediately after completing his commitments with the BBC’s Breakfast Show.
‘It’s nothing short of a miracle, really,’ said Geoff Burrow [Rob’s dad]. ‘He’s super human.
‘I said before this that he’s done enough. I think this is the ultimate one, I don’t think he should even try anything like this again. But who knows with Kevin?
‘We’ve all been part of a big family ever since the famous Leeds team achieved what they achieved, he’s like another son to me. His mum and dad must be so proud, it’s beyond words.
‘It’s difficult to take in. Whilst we all knew he would do it, the main thing is that Kevin took care of himself.
‘The money is great but nowhere as important as Kevin’s health. But he’s done it, I don’t know how.’
Sinfield crosses Long Row in Nottingham city centre on Monday as part of gruelling challenge
Sinfield puts his thumbs up to the 1,000 fans who were at his old ground to cheer him home