Rob Burrow surprises Harrogate man Ian Flatt who defied MND to scale Snowdon

  • Ian Flatt and his wife Racheal are surprised by a message from Rob Burrow

A man with motor neurone disease (MND) who scaled Mount Snowdon in a wheelchair was reduced to tears after receiving a surprise message of congratulations from rugby league legend Rob Burrow.

Ian Flatt, 56, climbed Wales's highest peak to raise funds for the MND treatment centre that is due to be built in Leeds in honour of the former Leeds Rhinos player.

In his video message for Ian, who is from Harrogate, Burrow said: "I just want to say a massive well done for you and your amazing team for reaching the summit of Snowdon.

"You needed your teammates throughout the toughest times, just like my teammates digging in through the testing times. You have made me want to be even more determined and especially more involved with my marathon.

"You have made such a difference to me and all the other MND sufferers - you keep it up."

Ian said the message had "made his week" and became emotional when he was shown it by ITV Calendar.

He said: "Every time I see that boy he makes me cry and they are happy tears. He is such a champion and such a legend and to take the time out to do that for me, that's beautiful."

Ian, who is terminally ill, is treated at the same facility in Seacroft as Rob and said that he was inspired to take on the challenge after seeing Rob's former teammate Kevin Sinfield take on a number of fundraising challenges.

His feat is even more impressive as he needs oxygen 16 hours a day.

He took on the climb with a team of over 40 people supporting him and has so far raised over £6,000.

Ian was helped up the mountain by a team of almost 40. Credit: Ian Flatt

A combination of ramps, pulleys and lifting equipment was used to help Ian get up the mountain.

He told ITV News: "When we first hit some of the big obstacles we'd not really had time to have a practice run because some things had changed. So my friends had made the ramps and trailer so when we hit the first big obstacle to climb over I thought 'I hope this works'."

He said that he had "so much faith" in all of his team to keep him safe during the climb.

Last year Ian completed a 100-mile trek across the North York Moors and the Yorkshire Wolds.

Ian was treated to a pint when he reached the bottom of Snowdon. Credit: Ian Flatt

Julian Hartley, chief executive of the Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust, said: "A new motor neurone disease centre for Leeds will provide us with an opportunity to bring in the latest technology and care provision for those living with MND and provide an aspirational space for those working in this field, with an opportunity to further our understanding and treatment of this cruel condition.

"This is an exciting prospect and we have been so impressed by the fundraising efforts so far, particularly the superhuman efforts of Ian."

Ian said: "The Rob Burrow Centre for Motor Neurone Disease is very important to us as a family.

"We're passionate about supporting other families going through this difficult disease. The support of the team at Leeds and their specialist help is so crucial for us to live as well as we can as a family.

"Whilst my mobility, dexterity and respiratory functions are failing, my sense of adventure remains intact."

The Rob Burrow MND Centre is aiming to raise £5million to replace the current treatment centre in Seacroft.