Lizzie Jones to sing ‘Abide With Me’ ahead of Cup final

Lizzie Jones, the widow of the late Danny Jones, will sing the traditional Challenge Cup final hym ‘Abide With Me’ ahead of this year’s game at Wembley.

She has considerable professional and amateur singing experience, and wants to use the occasion to thank the wider rugby league community for their support in the wake of her husband’s untimely passing.

Danny Jones died from undiagnosed hereditary heart disease after collapsing during a match against London Skolars.

Since then rugby league suporters, players, administrators and others have donated over £230,000 to a trust fund set up by the RFL Benevolent Fund to secure the futures of Danny and Lizzie’s children, eight-month old twins Bobby and Phoebe.

Lizzie is confident that she can handle what is likely to be a very emotional occasion.

“It is going to be emotional, but I’m a professional and can deal with it: and I’m doing it for Danny. That’ll get me through it,” she said.

“I’ve been a singer since I was 12 in amateur productions and I did it in university – I did a Masters in London and have performed all over. I know what I’m doing – I’ll be fine.

“It’s fantastic for me, I’m so excited and happy to be able to do something for Danny and to say ‘Thank you’ to the rugby league community and to everybody who has helped and supported me since Danny died.

“I can’t thank people enough for what they’ve done. They’ve made the most horrific point in my life a little bit more bearable. The kindness has been overwhelming.”

The legacy of Danny Jones‘s passing has been that the RFL have made heart screening for players at Championship and League 1 clubs mandatory.

“I spoke to a nurse this week who approached me saying that a young man came into the hospital where she works complaining of chest pains,” Lizzie added.

“He’s young, he’s a cyclist and is very fit but had seen what happened to Danny and how it all came out of nowhere.

“That prompted him to go to hospital that day where an ECG revealed he did have a problem with his heart, which the doctors are now treating.

“That decision saved his life: Danny saved his life; he’s already saving people and that’s an important legacy.

“He’s not just a number. If he can save lives then that’s all I want.”

RFL Chairman Brian Barwick is sure that the event will be a fine tribute to Danny Jones.

“I know everybody in the stadium and the millions watching on TV at home around the world will be supporting Lizzie when she sings Abide With Me on Challenge Cup final day,” he said.

“Lizzie has suffered the most devastating loss but is determined to ‎do Danny proud on that day – and I’m sure she will. She is a lady of immense courage and character.”

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