Lizzie Jones will join over 400 women from all walks of life at the Women of the Year Lunch next month as a ‘2016 Woman of Achievement’ in recognition of her outstanding work in raising funds for to install life-saving equipment at Rugby League clubs.
Lizzie, who will present the Ladbrokes Challenge Cup to the winning team at the final at Wembley Stadium next week, has fronted a hugely successful campaign to purchase defibrillators for community and junior clubs.
The former professional singer launched the Danny Jones Defibrillator Fund in memory of her late husband, a Keighley Cougars and Wales international half-back who collapsed and died from an undiagnosed heart condition while playing against London Skolars last May.
Following his tragic death, Lizzie successfully campaigned for cardiac screening to become mandatory at every Kingstone Press Championship and League 1 club, as it already is in the First Utility Super League.
Now, Lizzie has joined forces with the RFL Benevolent Fund to raise money to create a fund that will provide assistance to hundreds of community clubs and junior teams across the country to purchase a defibrillator. The fund is administered by the RFL Benevolent Fund and the sport’s charity Rugby League Cares, and supported by the WelMedical Group.
Lizzie said: “It is such an honour to be named as a Woman Of The Year.
“The Danny Jones Defibrillator Fund is my way of saying a big ‘Thank You’ to the wider Rugby League family for all they have done for me and my children since we lost Danny.
“I want the fund to be a platform to help the wider sporting community too, so to receive this Women Of The Year recognition alongside so many impressive, inspirational women doing such great work for their families and communities is truly thrilling.
This year’s event will take place on Monday October 17 at the InterContinental Hotel, Park Lane, London.
Previous attendees of the Women of the Year Lunch have included Nicole Kidman, Fern Britton, Professor Mary Beard, Mel Giedroyc, Nadiya Hussein, Sally Lindsay, Lindsay Lohan, Ellen MacArthur, Eimear McBride, Lulu, Dame Harriet Walter, Julie Walters CBE and Dame Jacqueline Wilson.
Women of the Year has recognised, celebrated and inspired women of all backgrounds since 1955 and continues to shine a light on extraordinary women through an annual Lunch and Awards ceremony, Lecture and on-going foundation work.
Sandi Toksvig, President of Women of the Year, said: “I’m looking forward to welcoming all our guests and winners to the Women of the Year Lunch and Awards in London this October. I would love to show the room to every schoolgirl growing up in Britain today and tell them ‘you can be whatever you want to be: just look at these incredible women.’”
Exceptional women will receive special awards at the Lunch for being an inspiration to others, demonstrated by their courage, selflessness and dedication. These special Women of the Year Awards are sponsored by Barclays, DFS, Good Housekeeping, ITV’s Lorraine and Prudential.