Rob Burrow has described his double delight at being awarded an MBE and inducted into Leeds Rhinos’ Hall of Fame on the same day.
Burrow was on Wednesday night confirmed on the Queen’s New Years list of honours for services to rugby league and his work raising awareness of motor neurone disease.
His fight against the condition, and the way the 38-year-old and his young family have opened their doors to document the battle, have captured the hearts of the general public.
Burrow said: “It is truly humbling to be awarded an MBE and I would like to thank everyone who has made this possible.
“2020 has taught us all to appreciate the gifts we have and it is my honour and privilege to accept this award on behalf of all the MND community.
“I hope it gives people hope that we are not ignored and the drive for more research and support to end MND will not stop.”
Wednesday also saw Burrow became the first member of the Rhinos’ “golden generation” to be honoured by the club after a career littered with silverware.
He won eight Super League titles, two Challenge Cups and three World Club Challenges during a 17-year playing career.
Burrow is the 16th player to be added to Leeds’ Hall of Fame and the fourth of this year’s inductees following legendary Australian Arthur Clues and former Great Britain internationals Fred Webster and Les Dyl.
With Covid-19 restrictions meaning the usual dinner to recognise the Rhinos’ greatest players was not possible, Burrow’s achievements in the blue and amber were marked in a special video feature that included tributes from former team-mates and coaches.
Burrow added: “All my life I have been a Rhinos fan – all my life I just wanted to play for Leeds.
“I was just proud to have played at this wonderful club for many years let alone to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.
“Of all the trophies that we were lucky enough to win, this one means the most. There is no club in the world that compares to the Rhinos.
“I would like to say a massive thank you to everyone who put faith in me and believed that size does not matter. This is the ultimate accolade for me – it means so much, thank you.”