Leeds sporting hero murals bring 'joy' in lockdown

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image copyrightPA Media
image captionA giant mural of Marcelo Bielsa was unveiled at Hyde Park Corner earlier this year

Giant murals depicting sporting heroes in Leeds have brought some much needed joy during the coronavirus pandemic, supporters have said.

Leeds United under Marcelo Bielsa were crowned Championship winners earlier this year, ending the club's 16-year absence from the Premier League.

A mural at Hyde Park Corner paying tribute to Bielsa was one of the first to appear ahead of the new season.

Leeds Rhinos star Rob Burrow has also been honoured with a mural in the city.

image copyrightLeeds United Supporters' Trust
image captionA mural of Leeds United midfielder Pablo Hernandez was unveiled on Kirkgate in December

Vice-chair of Leeds United Supporters' Trust Graham Hyde said the sporting murals had been something everyone could enjoy "in a year where little joy has been there to be had".

"Leeds United's joy is one that brings us together," he added.

image captionOne mural shows Kalvin Phillips alongside Leeds legends Albert Johanneson and Lucas Radebe

Mr Hyde said more murals were planned for early 2021, including a tribute to the late Jack Charlton, Norman Hunter and Trevor Cherry to be painted in Pudsey and designed by Nicolas Dixon.

"Each piece is designed to form part of a trail celebrating the history of the football club and the city," he said.

image copyrightOLI SCARFF/Getty Images
image captionArtist Nicolas Dixon and Andy McVeigh created this mural depicting Marcelo Bielsa

Mr Dixon, who previously created a mural of Bielsa in Wortley, said it was a real honour.

"As a lifelong Leeds fan, I'm really proud to be able to combine my two passions and am looking forward to being able to spread some more joy around the city."

image copyrightLeeds City Council
image captionThe Rob Burrow mural has been painted on the side of Leeds Beckett University's Student Union

Meanwhile, ex-Leeds Rhinos rugby league star Rob Burrow, who was diagnosed with motor neurone disease in 2019, said he was "absolutely honoured" after being featured on another mural in the city.

The artwork, painted by street artist Akse P19, features the slogan: "In a world full of adversity we must still dare to dream".

image captionA mural under a Leeds city centre flyover pays tribute to IBF world champion Josh Warrington

Another of Akse's murals celebrates Josh Warrington, who won the IBF world featherweight title with a victory over Wales' Lee Selby at Elland Road in 2018.

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