Thousands line streets in final heartbreaking farewell to rugby league legend Rob Burrow

-Credit: (Image: William Lailey / SWNS)
-Credit: (Image: William Lailey / SWNS)


Thousands of mourners lined the streets to pay tribute and say their final goodbyes to rugby league legend Rob Burrow ahead of his funeral today (July 7)

The dad-of-three and former Leeds Rhino star sadl passe away on June 2, aged 41, after being diagnosed with motor neurone disease (MND) in 2019. His funeral poignantly fell on Rob Burrow Day - an annual celebration held by Leeds Rhinos since 2021 in honour of the iconic scrum half, who wore a number 7 shirt throughout his successful career.

The funeral for Burrow, who will be remembered as one of the greatest players in Leeds Rhinos history, was held at Pontefract Crematorium, in Pontefract, West Yorkshire. Although it was a private service, members of the public were invited to line the route of the funeral cortege from 1pm.

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The procession slowed at Featherstone Lions ARLFC's ground on Wakefield Road and when passing through Featherstone and near to where Burrow played junior rugby, the Mirror reports.

-Credit:PA
-Credit:PA

Burrow enjoyed a 17-year career that saw eight Super League Grand Finals wins, three World Club Challenges and two Challenge Cups. Two years after retiring, in 2019, Burrow was diagnosed with MND.

Alongside friend and former teammate Kevin Sinfield, Burrow began a journey that saw more than £15million raised for MND charities. Their friendship captured the hearts of onlookers around the United Kingdom as they participated in the likes of Leeds marathon.

The pair were awarded CBEs for services to rugby league and the MND community in the New Year Honours in 2024. Prince William awarded the duo with the honour at Headingley Stadium.

Thousands lined the streets of West Yorkshire -Credit:PA
Thousands lined the streets of West Yorkshire -Credit:PA

Sinfield will be in attendance at Burrow's funeral as he takes compassionate leave from England's tour of New Zealand. The 43-year-old is part of the coaching setup for the nation's rugby union side but flew across the globe for his close friend's final send off.

Sinfield has been heartened by the reaction following Burrow's passing, despite his absence. "There are a lot of things I've missed over the last few weeks," he said.

"The response and respect for Rob from everyone across the UK has been wonderful and great to see. There was also a big tribute last weekend in the MND round of Super League. There's been some bits I'd like to have been there to witness.

Burrow enjoyed a 17-year career that saw eight Super League Grand Finals wins -Credit:William Lailey / SWNS
Burrow enjoyed a 17-year career that saw eight Super League Grand Finals wins -Credit:William Lailey / SWNS

"It's been really good to get away and get some time to reflect. Rob would want me to be here and to be part of this. He would want me to try and be supporting the guys. The lads have been fantastic throughout my time working with them they've shown compassion and care that won't go unnoticed."

The stretch of the funeral route from Pontefract Lane to the crematorium saw members of the public asked to "leave this part of the journey so the Burrow family can have a few moments to themselves before arriving at the crematorium".

Speaking from home, Burrow's wife Lindsey told BBC Breakfast host Sally Nugent in her first interview since his death: "He was an inspiration to so many. He was the face of the MND community. Despite the grief and the sadness, we have so much to be thankful for, for having him in our lives and making the world a better place to be.

"I'm proud to have been his wife for 17-and-a-half years and to have three beautiful children with Rob. I'll do everything I can to make sure they're brought up as Rob would want them to be to be kind and caring and to appreciate the things in life. Rob was very much like that. [He was] very down to earth, never had an ego such a lovely kind man."

Lindsey, 41, also detailed that Burrow left final messages for their children, Macy, 11, Maya, eight, and five-year-old Jackson. They remained on the eye-gaze machine that Rob used after the disease took away his ability to speak.

She said: "I know he has left messages on there for the children and, at the minute, it's too raw to go and look through the machine. There are birthday messages on there and messages for the children in the future. There will come a day where I will have to do that and Rob will be with me and he'll give me the strength to do that."