On Saturday 20th April, 10 celebrities, including Tracy Brabin, Mayor of West Yorkshire, ex-Leeds Rhinos player, Jamie-Jones Buchanan, Married at First Sight’s Matt Jameson, and England Rugby League star Danika Priim took to the dancefloor at a glitzy fundraiser to support motor neurone disease (MND) charities.

Following the success of the first ball in 2022, which raised over £85,000, Rob’s sisters Joanne Hartshorne and Clare Burnett joined forces once again to host the star-studded night at Blackpool Winter Gardens Empress Ballroom.

Read More: Celebrities put on their dancing shoes for Rob Burrow at Blackpool Strictly Ball fundraiser

Money raised at this year’s event will be split between Leeds Hospitals Charity’s appeal to build the Rob Burrow Centre for Motor Neurone Disease, the MND Association and the Rob Burrow Discretionary Fund. 

BBC Breakfast’s Sally Nugent and ex co-host Dan Walker reunited as comperes for the event, joined by TV presenter’s Helen Skelton and Gethin Jones. The judging panel included Coronation Street stars Daniel Brocklebank and Peter Ash, joined by professional ballroom dancer Barbara McColl and former Strictly Come Dancing pro Lilia Kopylova.

Danika Priim took home the coveted glitterball trophy on the night after impressing the judges with her beautiful performance, she said:

“It was an absolute honour to be asked to take part in the ball this year. It was possibly one of the scariest things I’ve ever done but definitely up there with the best!! A massive thank you to Jo and Claire for such a phenomenal event as well as Alex my dancer partner and Kirsty our choreographer, the two masterminds behind us lifting that glitter ball trophy!

“It was such a special moment to be able to dance at such a prestigious venue with Rob and his family there, especially Macy and Maya who always tell me about their dancing, they were the real judges! I’ve had the best time and who knows, I might even keep using the dance shoes!”

There were over 400 tickets sold for the event, including to major businesses. Over £50,000 has been raised through this year’s fundraising ball, taking their total raised through the Burrow Strictly Ball up to £140,000 for MND charities.

Amy Garcia and dance partner performing at the Burrow Strictly Ball

Joanne told us:

“It was such a fun and special night. All of the celebrities who took part were such good sports and showed so much dedication to help raise as much money as possible for Leeds Hospitals Charity’s fundraising appeal to make the Rob Burrow Centre for MND a reality. Everyone knows how important this centre is to help people like our brother Rob, and their loved ones, who facing this devastating diagnosis and disease.”

Since Rob was diagnosed with MND in 2019, his family have worked tirelessly to help raise awareness and funds for MND charities.

Read More: Rob Burrow Centre for MND fundraising appeal

We spoke to Paul Watkins, Director of Fundraising at Leeds Hospitals Charity, he said:

“The Burrow Strictly Ball was once again a resounding success, and it’s all down to Rob’s sisters Jo and Clare who put so much time and effort into organising this wonderful event. We would like to say a heartfelt thank you Clare and Jo and all of the celebrities who took part. The money raised through this fabulous evening will help us get even closer to building the Rob Burrow Centre for Motor Neurone Disease here in Leeds.

“We still have £1.2 million left to reach our fundraising target, and its thanks to the commitment of incredible fundraisers like Jo and Clare that we are getting even closer to making Rob’s dream a reality.” 

Chris James, Director of External Affairs for the MND Association said:

“It was an honour for the MND Association to benefit from the ball this year. The difference Rob and his family, including his sisters Claire and Jo who organised the evening, have made to our work at the MND Association is just extraordinary.  We have been able to support more people living with MND and their families than ever before through a range of specialist support services, including children and young people. And expand our research portfolio to help find treatments and a cure. The Ball was an incredible night in so many ways and one every one of us present will remember. Thank you to all who helped to ensure it was such a resounding success including the dancers, judges, contestants and hosts, and especially to Claire and Jo.”