Health Secretary hints he wants ‘remarkable’ Burrow and Sinfield to be knighted

‘Special’ moment Rob Burrow carried over finishing line

Steve Barclay has hinted that he would like the rugby heroes Rob Burrow and Kevin Sinfield to receive knighthoods. The Health Secretary appeared to approve of a campaign by the Daily Express to have the two knighted following their incredible marathon finish earlier this month. Mr Barclay said the two were “inspirational figures” who deserved high praise while committing to the Government’s funding for MND.

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The MP for North East Cambridgeshire appeared on BBC Breakfast this morning while making the Government media rounds.

He was asked by presenter Jon Kay whether he would support the campaign.

Replying to Mr Kay, the Health Secretary said that he couldn’t “stray into making those sorts of recommendations” to the Government.

But the self-confessed rugby fan praised the “amazing” duo for their years-long campaign.

He said: “As a Health Secretary and rugby fan, I think what they have both done is absolutely amazing.”

He added that he thought the stars were “remarkable characters” and “inspirational figures”.

Mr Barclay continued: “I think that what they have done for the MND community is absolutely remarkable.”

The minister concluded saying the knighthood campaign is “absolutely inspirational”.

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Burrow and Sinfield completed the Leeds Marathon on May 14 as part of a campaign to raise money for MND research.

Together, they have raised £2.7million towards MND causes following Burrow’s diagnosis in 2019, with Sinfield having carried his former teammate across the finish line last month to mark another successful effort.

The Daily Express launched its campaign to have the Leeds Rhinos players knighted earlier this week, with a host of high-profile figures coming forward to lend their wholehearted support.

The MND Association and Leeds Rhinos Chief Executive Gary Hetherington have backed efforts to have the two recognised, with Mr Hetherington commending their incredible work raising awareness for the cause.

He told the Express that their movement is “nationally and internationally” significant, earning them recognition “all over the world”.

He added that the two “humble characters” had made an achievement “worthy of the highest accolade”.

Chris James, the MND Association’s Director of External Affairs, agreed, telling the Express Mr Burrow has “brought the reality of [MND’s] brutality into millions of homes across the country”.

Mr James added: “We hope to be able to congratulate them on their knighthoods in the future, following a successful campaign by the Express.”

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