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Kevin Sinfield receives ‘great honour’

Local rugby legend and charity fundraiser, Kevin Sinfield OBE has been formally presented with what has been described as one of Oldham’s greatest-ever honours.

The former Leeds Rhinos star officially received the title of Honorary Freeman of the Borough, the highest award a council can bestow upon a person, during a council ceremony on Monday evening in front of local councillors and close relatives.

The accolade was awarded to the 42-year-old in recognition of his eminent services and inspiring achievements to the borough and its people, and follows his initial appointment by Council in March 2021.

Kevin is one of 27 people to receive this rare local achievement and is joined by the likes of former Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill, suffragist Marjory Lees and Olympic gold medallists Nicola White and Matt Walls.

Widely regarded as one of rugby league’s greatest-ever kickers, the former stand-off has enjoyed a glory-filled 19-year playing career – success that has followed him into coaching where he is now the defensive coach of England’s national Rugby Union side.

Aside from rugby, Kevin has more recently captured the hearts and minds of the nation with his incredible sporting challenges to raise money for his former teammate Rob Burrow, who was diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease in December 2019.

His efforts so far have involved completing seven marathons in seven days, run 101 miles in 24 hours and run seven ultra-marathons within a week, which have raised millions of pounds for charity.

On receiving his title, Kevin said on the Rhinos website: “It’s a great honour to receive this recognition from my home town and I want to thank Oldham Council for this special commemoration.

“I am also exceptionally thankful for the support the people of this town have given me over the years, especially since my retirement.

“Your overwhelming support for my teammate Rob Burrow through his journey with Motor Neurone Disease, and the backing you have given me to raise funds for this important cause has been incredible so thank you.”

Leader of Oldham Council, Councillor Amanda Chadderton, added: “Kevin is a remarkable athlete and a truly inspiring and generous individual, and we couldn’t find a more fitting way to honour his achievements than with the greatest award our borough can bestow upon him.

“Not only has Kevin enjoyed a successful career in ruby, both as a player and a coach to inspire the next generation of players in our town, he has also completed incredible challenges for Motor Neurones Disease.

“He is a terrific human being and the entire borough is immensely proud of what he has achieved so far, and what he continues to do.”

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