Lizzie Jones has admitted she still hasn’t come down to earth after her outstanding work in raising awareness of cardiac health issues saw her named the 2016 Lorraine Inspirational Woman of the Year.
The award is voted for by members of the public and was presented to Lizzie at a gala dinner in London on Monday night by ITV’s Lorraine Kelly.
“It’s been an amazing week, my feet haven’t touched the ground and I still can’t believe that I’ve received this award. It’s lovely,” said Lizzie.
“Just to be shortlisted was amazing and to win it was incredible. Obviously I’m very flattered but I’m also incredibly humbled because this award is more recognition of what wonderful people the Rugby League family are.
“I’ve had hundreds of messages through the week from all across the country from people saying they voted for me because of what we’ve achieved with the Danny Jones Defibrillator Fund.
“As I’ve said all along, it’s the support of the Rugby League family that’s kept me going since we lost Danny. It’s a real privilege for me to be able to put something back into the game.
“I’ve also had lots of messages from people telling me that they’re inspired to do what they can to help us. That’s really important.
“We still have some way to go to reach our target of raising £50,000 to put a defibrillator into every club and we need that support to continue.”
Lizzie was one of three women on the shortlist for the award put together by a panel featuring Judy Murray, the mother of tennis stars Andy and Jamie.
Judy said: “It was very difficult. There were over 300 nominations to start off with and getting down to the final three was incredibly difficult.
“Lizzie lost her husband unexpectedly, she has two very young children and to cope with all the grief and to go out and set up her campaign and her charity so that other people would not suffer in the same way...
“The Woman Of The Year Awards was a story of so many ordinary women who do extraordinary things and it was very, very humbling to be there. Lizzie is amazing.”
Presenter Lorraine Kelly said: “It’s fantastic, it really is. Out of something so hellish so unimaginably tragic Lizzie has done something so positive. It is incredible. ”
Danny died in May 2015 after he suffered a cardiac arrest whilst playing for Keighley Cougars. Since then, as an ambassador of the RFL Benevolent Fund, Lizzie has campaigned for Championship and League 1 players to have heart screening and helped raise over £30,000 for a fund set up in Danny’s name to put a defibrillator in every community Rugby League club across the UK.
To make a donation to the Danny Jones Defibrillator Fund please visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/danny-jones-defibrillator-fund