Rugby League legend Rob Burrow MBE launches new BBC podcast showcasing inspirational stories from sporting greats
and live on Freeview channel 276
In each episode the legendary Leeds Rhino star, who has motor neurone disease and communicates via a computerised voice he banked before he lost the ability to speak, talks to a different sports person about their careers, challenges, and successful moments.
It will be available weekly on Tuesdays on BBC Sounds.
In the first episode, Wayne recalls how nervous he felt when he was asked to present Rob and the Rhinos with their team shirts ahead of the 2012 Grand Final against Warrington.
Wayne also reveals how Rob’s energy and positivity has inspired everyone around him.
He said: “I know first-hand the impact this (illness) can have on yourself and people around you. Everyone must change the way of living and I had that with my sister-in-law who suffered not the same illness, but something as severe.
"But your energy and positivity helps everyone else around you, I can see the money you have raised for charity and to help others, it’s really inspiring.”
Other friends interviewed on the podcast include former England rugby union player and world-cup winner, Jonny Wilkinson; British double-Olympic gold medallist, Dame Kelly Holmes; former Scottish rugby union player, Kenny Logan and his wife, BBC sports presenter Gabby Logan; British wheelchair racer Hannah Cockcroft, and with further sporting greats still to be announced.
Rob, who’s from Pontefract, said: “I have loved making this podcast and talking to many inspirational sporting heroes and friends. Having this disease doesn’t mean I don’t have a voice.
"I live life to the full every day and refuse to give in. I’ve really enjoyed being able to showcase my personality in my podcast and have a laugh.”
Rob is a patron of the Motor Neurone Disease Association, who have helped with his AI technology and the creation of his computerised ‘Yorkshire’ voice, which has enabled him to communicate.
This podcast series was made possible with the help of the MND Association, as it helped Rob with his eye-gaze technology, which has enabled him to do the series.
Tanya Curry, CEO of the Motor Neurone Disease Association said: “By using his communication aid to converse with guests, Rob is continuing to push boundaries of what is possible when living with MND and raising awareness that around 80 per cent of people living with MND will experience changes to their speech after being diagnosed with the disease.”
Chris Burns, BBC Controller of Local Audio Commissioning says: “This is a ground-breaking podcast hosted by one of rugby’s best-known players.
"By working closely with Lindsey Burrow and with the support of innovative technology this is an opportunity for many to enjoy Rob’s irrepressible sense of humour and positivity as he chats to a selection of impressive guests.
"Local BBC Radio loves to bring inspirational stories to audiences across England, and this is one such unmissable story.”