7 July 2024 News

Today (7 July) the private funeral of rugby league legend and Motor Neurone Disease Association patron Rob Burrow CBE takes place. Rob died of motor neurone disease (MND) on 2 June 2024, four and a half years after being diagnosed.  

The service for Rob coincides with Rob Burrow Day – an annual event to honour Rob’s heroic efforts on and off the rugby field, and in tribute to the number seven shirt he wore during his rugby league career. Rob’s life will be publicly celebrated on 12 July at a civic reception, hosted by the Lord Mayor of Leeds for invited guests.  

In saying goodbye to Rob, we remember all of the incredible awareness raising he did and fundraising he inspired.

Raising awareness 

In a televised interview just days after his diagnosis, Rob shared the devastating news that he had MND. In the weeks, months and years that followed, Rob and his family selflessly shared their experiences of the disease with the world – the good days, and the bad days. In doing so, Rob educated people on the progressive nature of MND and the impact it has on lives.


Rob accepted an invitation to become a patron of the MND Association in July 2021. A few months later in September 2021, along with his dad Geoff, he joined other people with MND to hand in a letter to 10 Downing Street urging the Government to invest £50m in funding targeted MND research under the #United2EndMND banner. This campaign was ultimately successful provided the building blocks for the new UK MND Research Institute, which is now up and running. This is supporting researchers across the country to carry out world-leading research in a co-ordinated way to accelerate the search for a cure.


Rob’s strength and determination captured the hearts of tens of thousands of people who chose to support in his honour, completing everything from marathons to cake sales for the MND Association. Among that number is fellow MND Association patron and former teammate Kevin Sinfield CBE, who took on four epic challenges while Rob was living with MND, raising in excess of £5.5m for the MND Association. These funds have already been invested in our work across care and research. This includes vital translational research taking us towards treatments and, ultimately, a cure, improving the support and co-ordination of services for people with MND, and developing our support for children and young people who have a family member affected by the disease.