Lizzie Jones has been awarded the MBE in the Queen’s 2020 New Years Honours.
Jones has been recognised for services to rugby league and to charity. She founded and continued the Defibrillator Fund after losing her husband, Danny, to a heart condition while playing for Keighley in May 2015.
He died from an undiagnosed heart defect while playing for Keighley Cougars against London Skolars.
The Wales international’s sudden death prompted Lizzie to launch a campaign in association with the RL Benevolent Fund to raise funds to help amateur Rugby League clubs purchase cardiac defibrillators.
Since his death, the Danny Jones Defibrillator Fund has raised almost £200,000 and purchased potentially life-saving equipment that is safeguarding the health of more than 40,000 Rugby League players and officials, as well as countless fans.
On receiving the award, she said: “I feel absolutely overwhelmed and privileged to accept the MBE on behalf of the whole Rugby League family for the way in which it has embraced our work with the Danny Jones Defibrillator Fund.
“The fund continues to save lives and raise awareness of cardiac health, and I know Danny would have been immensely proud of what we have achieved.
“I have met some amazing people and heard some incredible stories through my involvement with the DJ fund and in my role as an ambassador for the RL Benevolent Fund, and this honour is as much for them as it is for me.”
Jones is not the only member of the rugby league family to be awarded on the honours list. Former Warrington and Wales forward and current President of Wales Rugby League Mike Nicholas has also awarded MBE for his services to the sport in Wales.