Rob Burrow calls for more MND funding after death of friend Doddie Weir

Doddie Weir met with Rob Burrow after Burrow had been diagnosed with the condition Credit: Leeds Rhinos

Leeds Rhinos legend Rob Burrow has called on the government to release more funding for motor neurone disease following the death of his friend and fellow MND campaigner Doddie Weir.

Former Scotland player Weir was diagnosed with MND in 2016 and was the first person Burrow spoke to with the condition after he got his diagnosis in 2019. Both have since tirelessly campaigned for new ways to treat the disease.

Scottish Rugby announced the death of Doddie Weir on Saturday 26 November.

Doddie Weir's death was announced by Scottish Rugby on Saturday 26 November Credit: PA

In a tweet, Burrow described Weir as a "friendly giraffe" and expressed frustration at a lack of funding for research.

He said: "So sad to hear the news of the passing of my mnd hero Doddie Weir. I'm sorry to say, how many more warriors die before this stupid government give the 50m they said they would give.

"I'm absolutely gutted to see my friendly giraffe die. You are the reason for being so positive RIP."

Boris Johnson committed £50million to funding research in November last year – a move which he said would "transform the fight" against MND.

But there has been criticism of the delays in providing the money.

Last week the Department of Health said the government had invested millions of pounds in MND research and said it remained committed to spending at least another £50million to "help find a cure to this awful illness".

Former Rhinos player Kevin Sinfield, who has just finished his latest fundraising feat in support of his former teammate Burrow, has also paid his respects to Weir.

In a statement he said: "Doddie was a giant as a player but his campaigning following his MND diagnosis made him a colossus. When Bryan Redpath first put me in touch with Doddie to speak to Rob Burrow following Rob’s own diagnosis, he immediately said yes without hesitation.

"The sight of 5’4” Rob and 6’6” Doddie was something that will live with all of us and probably bonded the duo with the great humour they shared. Doddie was able to give Rob the greatest gift of hope that night. He has been like a big brother to all of us since that day."

Doddie Weir has supported former Leeds Rhinos player Kevin Sinfield in his fundraising challenges for MND research Credit: Leeds Rhinos

Weir earned 61 caps for Scotland, represented the British and Irish Lions on their tour to South Africa in 1997, and won championships with club sides Melrose and Newcastle Falcons.