Burrow’s Boys complete Scafell Pike Hike to raise money and awareness of MND

On Saturday, former Academy players successfully summited the highest mountain in England, Scafell Pike, to show their support and raise money for their former coach Rob Burrow and the MND Association.

Organised by 2018 Academy captain Harvey Whiteley, the players completed the gruelling hike in under four hours, just as their JustGiving page surpassed £2,000.

The group were members of Burrow’s first Academy squad, after the eight time Grand Final winner had hung up his boots and taken up the full time role of Academy head coach at the end of 2017. In a memorable season, Burrow and his young Rhinos finished third in the Under-19s Championship and then convincingly beat St Helens 40-18 to reach their first Academy Grand Final in six years.

Being in the Final concluded a memorable first season for Burrow and propelled the likes of current first team players Mikolaj Oledzki, Harry Newman and Tom Holroyd into the spotlight. Memories of that season were plain to see on Saturday as every hiker was wearing a special t-shirt with a photo from the Grand Final on the front and a word that summed up Burrow up to each player on the back.

Speaking after the hike, Whiteley talked about how the group felt being back together for Burrow and thanked Jenn Dodd from the MND Association for helping put the hike together.

“We were having a good reminisce going up,” he said. “I went with Reece Chapman-Smith to give Rob his t-shirt a few days before and as soon as we walked in the door, his face and eyes just lit up and that was great to see.

2018 captain Harvey Whiteley and full back Reece Chapman-Smith both visited Burrow to give him a special t-shirt that the Academy players hiked in.

“We had Rob in our thoughts going up and we really enjoyed being a part of that group again. To raise the funds we have is amazing too. We were only at £700 the night before so we had a big social media push and to be over £2000 is brilliant. We are hoping next year, when restrictions hopefully are eased, to hike the likes of Snowden and Ben Nevis as a group; it doesn’t stop here with Scafell Pike!

“I’d met with Jenn from the MND Association when I was at Herd Farm with Leeds Rhinos Foundation and I knew we wanted to do something like this and she helped us out massively, helping us set up the fundraising page and what we needed to put on it, so a big thank you to her too.”

Prop Tyler Dupree added to Whiteley’s comments. “The main reason for us getting together was to celebrate Rob as our coach.” Dupree said. “It was great to see all the boys doing well and us all being able to come together to do this for Rob. The word I chose for my t-shirt was fearless because despite how small he was as a player, he never backed down, and now with what he’s going through, he’s never taken a backwards step.”

Even though most of the group climbed together, Harvey Spence, Jack Broadbent, Sam Moorhouse and Tom Holroyd damaged their car driving to the start point. Nonetheless, the four of them completed the Pike hike four hours later as Holroyd explains. “We were driving through the tight roads of Cumbria and Harvey went to swerve round a pot hole and there was a rock at the side of the road that slashed two of the tyres so we were sat at the side of the road for over three hours! We still had the intentions of completing the climb because people had got behind us and put their money in and it only felt right to completed what we had set out to do.

“It didn’t matter about the circumstances, we still wanted to get up there and raise some money for Rob. He played a massive role for me not just as a player but as a bloke as well and all the guys that have been coached by him hold him in a high regard, as you can see by the turnout to do the walk. I had a chat with Sam Moorhouse at the top and we said despite how cold it was and all the snow on the way up, it was nothing compared to what Rob is going through so that really helped drive us to finish it.”

You can still donate to the players by clicking here.