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Home town pays tribute to Rob Burrow

Flowers, letters and rugby league shirts honouring Leeds Rhinos legend Rob Burrow have been left in his home town of Pontefract.

The 41-year-old, who was diagnosed with motor neurone disease (MND) in 2019, died at Pinderfields Hospital in Wakefield on Sunday.

Burrow was born in Pontefract on 26 September 1982, before moving to Castleford where he grew up, playing rugby from the age of seven.

Tributes have been left at Pontefract Buttercross to the player, who along with former team-mate Kevin Sinfield went on to raise more than £15m in less than five years for MND research.

Thousands of people have also left tributes outside Headingley Stadium, the Rhinos' home ground, which was visited by Burrow's wife Lindsey, and their children, on Tuesday.

At the site in Pontefract, resident Tricia France, 67, said: "For this area, for anybody, he’s a hero.

"I think he was just an inspiration to everybody. When we knew him he lived at Castleford, at Townville, and he went to the same school as my son.

"He’s one of these who has just achieved amazing things and is a role model to any child growing up in Pontefract and Castleford.

"He’s an absolute hero and will be sadly missed."

Although Burrow only ever played for Leeds Rhinos, fans of all clubs have headed into the town centre to pay their respects.

Tony Mills, 56, is a Featherstone Rovers fan who came to lay flowers on Wednesday.

He said: "He is a Pontefract lad and you never forget your own.

"Even though he played for Castleford’s arch-rivals and Featherstone’s arch-rivals, it’s still a sad thing to happen and everyone comes together in times like this."

He added: "He didn’t do it for rugby league, he did it for Yorkshire, he did it for Great Britain, he did it for the world really because everybody knew Rob Burrow for what he was - a great man."

Burrow had a stellar 17-year career that included winning eight Super League Grand Finals, three World Club Challenges and two Challenge Cups.

At 5ft 5in he was one of the shortest players in the game, but one of the most well-known.

Phil Hetherington, 61, said as a Castleford fan he wished Burrow had played for his team, but that he was "a legend in the game".

"He was only a small guy but a big presence," he said.

"We’re very proud that he was from Castleford and we’re not proud that he played for Leeds, but very proud he was a Cas lad and what he did in the game."

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