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Monday, 22 December 2014

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Leeds Rhinos aiming to strengthen links with Whitehaven

Leeds Rhinos are looking to strengthen links with Whitehaven after unveiling a special testimonial event for long-serving star Rob Burrow in west Cumbria.

Gary Hetherington photo
Gary Hetherington

Haven offered to host a dinner for Burrow’s testimonial, as a thank you to the Super League champs for the help given to the Championship One outfit over recent seasons.

And it will be held in Whitehaven Civic Hall on June 20, with Leeds coach Brian McDermott and England boss Steve McNamara among the speakers.

“It’s all part of the deepening of the partnership between the Rhinos and Whitehaven,” said Gary Hetherington, Leeds chief executive, who was in Whitehaven this week.

“It has now been in place for about three years, so we are discussing what we might be able to do in 2013, following on from what we did in 2012 and before.”

Leeds have faced Haven in pre-season matches over recent years and taken part in special fund-raising dinners, with the Rhinos not taking a penny from the events. The champs will bring their Super League and World Club trophies to town for Burrow’s big night.

Hetherington added: “It will be a terrific evening, and we hope as many rugby league fans as possible come along, to a, enjoy the event, and b, to support Rob Burrow, who has been, and continues to be, a terrific servant, not only to the Rhinos but to rugby league generally. He’s one of the most popular characters in the game.”

Hetherington will return to the town this weekend for Whitehaven Festival, where ex-Leeds legend Keith Senior will be a special guest.

Senior will be speaking in the chefs’ marquee on the Sugar Tongue from 5.30pm on Saturday.

“It’s a chance for fans to meet a real superstar of the game, a world class player who was a fantastic performer for England, Great Britain and obviously, Leeds Rhinos,” said Haven chief executive Barry Richardson.

Leeds will also have a presence at the festival, with a sprinkling of top class talent expected to be in town over the weekend.

Hetherington said: “The players have been invited, and one or two came last year and really enjoyed it.

“Word has spread that it’s an event worth coming to. Some of our keen music followers, like Ryan Hall, Lee Smith and Danny McGuire were all talking about the possibility of coming over. We are playing on Friday night and normally Saturday morning would be a training session, and Sunday would be their day off. We are clarifying training arrangements.

“The Rhinos had a small presence last year and we brought up some of our merchandise and memorabilia, and it disappeared within an hour, so there’s obviously a demand for it.

“This year the two clubs are going for a bigger and better approach to Saturday. I will be coming along with my family.

“I was staggered by the colour and size of the gathering, the variety and entertainment, last year. It was a terrific event and I’m keen to be back this year.”

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