A former art student and keen Rugby League fan has put the lockdown to good use by painting a portrait of Rob Burrow to raise money to help support the Leeds legend, who is fighting Motor Neurone Disease.
The oil on canvas, which measures 40 x 32 inches and is framed with a named plaque, has been painted by Dave Ingham, from Keighley, who will donate the finished work or any proceeds raised by its sale to the fund set up by the Leeds Rugby Foundation.
Burrow, 37, who won three World Club Challenges, eight Super League titles and two Challenge Cups in 17 years at the Rhinos and also represented both England and Great Britain, revealed his MND diagnosis in March.
The father of three, who is now Leeds’ reserve-team coach, is undergoing treatment for the degenerative condition, which affects how nerves in the brain and spinal cord function. There is currently no cure.
“I’m a Keighley Cougars fan first and foremost, but I’ve also gone to watch Leeds for a long number of years, although I think fans of all clubs will appreciate what a tremendous player Robbie Burrow has been,” said Ingham, 77, who was the head of a remand and assessment centre before retiring and is a former Pennine Amateur Rugby League Chairman.
“Doddie Weir is another high-profile sportsman fighting MND, and I also know people who have died from the condition. I wanted to do something to help both Robbie and the bid to find a cure for what is a horrible condition.
“I’ve been painting since childhood, and while I went in another direction career-wise after art college, I’ve always carried it on as a hobby.
“I like to combine two of my passions, art and Rugby League, and I’ve painted a number of players, including Barrie McDermott and John Holmes, over the years.
“I started this painting just before lockdown, so I’ve had plenty of time to finish it at my leisure, and there has already been some interest among people I know.
“But obviously I’d like it to generate as much money as possible, and it will either be auctioned, with all proceeds going to the fund, or donated, with discussions over the best way forward currently ongoing.”
Any interested parties can get in touch with the artist via League Express.