Lizzie Jones has spoken of her delight and surprise after her outstanding work to raise awareness of cardiac health issues was recognised by the St John’s Ambulance.
At a gala dinner in London on Wednesday evening attended by the Sophie, Countess of Wessex, Lizzie was presented with the St John’s Ambulance First Aid Champion award.
Lizzie, who has successfully campaigned for cardiac screening to be made compulsory for players in Rugby League’s three professional competitions and helped put life-saving defibrillators in dozens of community Rugby League clubs, also came away from the event at the Grange Hotel with three defibrillators to award to clubs of her choice.
“It was a wonderful night and I feel truly honoured to receive such a prestigious award,” said Lizzie, who attended the dinner with her best friend, Laura.
“I was overwhelmed by the goodwill from other guests at the dinner: sponsors presented me with three new defibrillators to award to clubs and offered help with full training.
“I was also introduced to the Countess of Wessex, who was very aware of the work that the Danny Jones Defibrillator Fund is doing. She asked about the charity and about Bobby and Phoebe, which was lovely.
“The Countess also said how wonderful it was that so much good could come out of the tragedy of losing Danny.”
The St John’s Ambulance First Aid Champion is awarded to an individual or individuals who have excelled in promoting first aid and educating others. It forms part of the Everyday Heroes awards which take place annually.
Lizzie did not allow the trip to London to disrupt her training for the Great North Run on Sunday, when she will run the half-marathon with Matt King OBE in aid of Rugby League Cares.
Matt, 29, was left paralysed from the neck down as a teenager while playing Rugby League for the London Broncos Academy after severing his spinal cord in a tackle – Danny Jones played for Halifax in the same match.
“Doing the Great North Run with Matt is the best thing I have ever been asked to do and I had no hesitation in saying ‘yes’ even though I’ve never really been a runner before,” said Lizzie.
“I’ve had just eight weeks to train for it and I think I’ll be OK. It’s going to be hard but Matt is such an inspirational person and he’ll get us all to the finishing line.”
Sunday will be the third time Matt has completed the iconic half-marathon in the last decade, despite organisers’ initial scepticism that someone with his level of disability could come through such a searching test.
To sponsor Matt and Lizzie please visit https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/tenyeartreble