MORE than 30,000 people have signed an online petition calling for Saddleworth marathon man, Kevin Sinfield, to be knighted.
The Independent’s front page headline in our December edition was ‘Arise Sir Kev?
That gauntlet has now been picked up by lifelong Leeds Rhinos fan, Mel Handforth.
Mum of two Mel was blown away by Sinfield’s epic seven marathons in seven days challenge to raise money and awareness for the motor neurone disease association.
The former Leeds and England captain’s team mate Rob Burrow was diagnosed with MND 12 months ago.
Sinfield’s effort have so far raised more than £2.5 million for Rob and MNDA. The total is still rising.
“It is such a lovely story,” said Mel, a team manager for a Leeds based central heating company.
“What he has done for MND and Rob Burrow is just outstanding. I get goosebumps just thinking about it.
“For all the terrible things that go on in the world there are thousands and thousands of good acts of human kindness.
“That is why everyone is responding to it. You cannot watch Rob’s story and not be moved by everything he has gone through.
“’Arise Sir Kev’ was a hashtag a few years ago so after watching what he had achieved I just thought ‘I am going to create a petition but with absolutely no expectation whatsoever.
“I shared the idea on a couple of rugby league sites and it got over 3,000 signatures. That blew me away.
“Next thing I knew it was upto 10,000 and I thought I had been hacked,” laughed Mel, 42, and a Leeds fan since she was six.
“I am a massive rugby league fan,” she confirmed. “Footballers get paid mega bucks but rugby league players tend to be true sports people.
“I am trying to get my four and five-year old boys to watch. If my boys get to look upto people like Kevin Sinfield, I would be made up.
“He is the type of hero they should watch,” added Mel. “I know Kev probably doesn’t want this (a knighthoods) out of it.
“He has done it because he is a good friend and good person. But it is probably about time someone from rugby league got one.”
To sign the petition go to https://www.change.org/p/crown-estate-give-kevin-sinfield-a-knighthood