Lizzie Jones has been awarded an MBE in the Queen’s 2020 New Year honours list.
She has been recognised for her services to rugby league and charity after founding the Danny Jones Defibrillator Fund following the loss of her husband 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.
Over the last four years, the Danny Jones Defibrillator Fund has raised almost £200,000 and purchased potentially life-saving equipment.
The fund has also helped pay for cardiac screening for junior and adult Rugby League players, and in recent months has been helping other sports, including cricket, generate the funds they need to install defibrillators at local clubs.
On the news, 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.”
RFL Chief Executive Ralph Rimmer added: “Everyone in Rugby League is proud of Lizzie, and delighted she receives this national recognition.
“Lizzie is a charity pioneer and her work continues to change and save lives in our communities. She has been a generous ambassador for the RL Benevolent Fund and is also a champion for women’s Rugby League.
“She has supported charities and businesses in Yorkshire, which has been recognised by a number of regional and national awards both for her voluntary work, and her career as a professional singer.”