The first demolition work to clear space for the proposed new Rob Burrow Centre for Motor Neurone Disease (MND) begins today at Seacroft Hospital. The work begins less than one week after Kevin Sinfield finished his epic fundraising Ultra 7 in 7 (300 mile) challenge, which directly benefits the new centre.

Rob and Lindsey Burrow, together with Rob’s parents Geoff and Irene, clinical staff, and several charity funders, will be present to mark the moment the enabling works began at Seacroft, the preferred location of staff and MND patients for a new centre to be built, once the fundraising target has been reached.

Dr Agam Jung, Consultant Neurologist who leads the MND team at Seacroft Hospital says:

“This is an exciting moment. We’ve been speaking to our patients and working closely with the MND care team to think about the vision for what we need from a new MND centre and how it will benefit those who are touched by the service in the region. Seacroft is where we currently run our clinic and our patients are familiar with it, it’s also close to green spaces and is easily accessible by the main roads.

“The ethos of the Leeds MND Service of enabling MND patients to ‘live in the now’ will be reflected in the build. The vision is to provide hope and optimism and set standards of MND Care delivery nationally.”

CEO of Leeds Hospitals Charity Esther Wakeman says:

“We’re hugely grateful to everyone who supported Kevin Sinfield on his Ultra Challenge last week and we are now £1m closer to our fundraising target. This is an incredible effort. However, we’ve still got a way to go.

“The site at Seacroft Hospital is our preferred location for the new Rob Burrow Centre for Motor Neurone Disease, but we still need to raise all of the money before this specialist centre can become a reality. If anyone has been inspired by Kevin’s recent efforts, there’s still time to run the Rob Burrow Leeds Marathon or Half Marathon next May and raise funds directly for the centre.”

The work includes the demolition of the Old Matron’s House, a former nurse’s accommodation, supported by specialist ecological advisors. Materials from the demolition will be recycled where possible.  

Simultaneously, the architect’s competition will progress, which is the process by which the architects for the project will be selected. Just under 30 expressions of interest have been submitted, with those shortlisted expected to present design concepts in the new year.

Craige Richardson, Director of Estates & Facilities for Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust says;

“A new centre would be fantastic for patients, their families, staff, and it would really make a difference to the site here at Seacroft Hospital. Trust Estate professionals are working closely with the Charity and we’re doing all we can to support them in reaching their funding target, which is definitely moving in the right direction with all the incredible backing it is getting.”

Leeds Hospitals Charity hopes that thanks to donations, the centre will transform the hospital experience for people with MND, their loved ones, and those caring for them. The current fundraising total sits at over £3m.