Politicians and celebrities are joining a growing army of supporters calling for rugby league legend Kevin Sinfield to be knighted.
The former England captain has long been nicknamed “Sir Kev” by fans of Leeds Rhinos where he won a host of honours alongside his “little mate” Rob Burrow.
Yesterday, as Kevin’s latest challenge, a 101-mile run in 24 hours to raise funds for motor neurone disease, neared the £2million mark, Manchester mayor Andy Burnham said: “A lot of people want to see and hear those immortal words, ‘Arise, Sir Kevin’.”
He told him: “You have given people hope and shown that friendship really means something deep and personal, and that is priceless.
“To the powers that be in this country, I would say of this great sport of rugby league, isn’t it about time it was recognised?”
Boxing hero Frank Bruno also said he hoped that honours chiefs “were watching”.
Kevin, 41, ran from Leicester Tigers’ ground – where he is now a coach – to Headingley, where 1,000 fans cheered him to the finish. Pal Rob, diagnosed with MND in 2019, was there, along with Rob’s wife Lindsey and daughter Macy, nine.
Yesterday, modest Kevin said he felt “a bit broken – but alright” and, reacting to calls to give him a knighthood, he told the BBC : “It is really nice. But I would much rather money was going to MND research as we try to find a cure.
“The big driver is to build the new Rob Burrow Care centre in Leeds. We want him to open it. If anyone has a spare couple of million pounds out there and they can donate, it would be a really nice thing to do.”
He said the run was “a huge team effort”, adding: “I played with some great lads and many came to join me. I knew it was going to be a fight.
“We needed people to see how hard it was, it was horrendous. But I never for one moment thought we were never going to get it done.
"So many happy memories take away the pain. There were brass bands playing, the crowds were amazing.”
Well-wishers followed in a caravan which he used for rest breaks while others cooked pizzas.
Kevin was only able to down liquids by the end, with his heart rate and glucose levels monitored.
Last year, he raised £2.7m with seven marathons in seven days. Mum Beryl Sinfield, 69, told the Mirror: “We are very proud of him.”
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