Lizzie Jones knows that there is nothing she can do to bring her husband back, but she is determined the rugby league player’s sudden death will not be in vain.
Her husband, Danny Jones, died after collapsing during a match for his club, Keighley Cougars, but she showed courage beyond mere words when just days later. Mrs Jones walked onto the pitch cradling their twin babies Bobby and Phoebe before kick-off at Cougar Park as Keighley fans paid their respects in an afternoon when sport was an afterthought.
Since then, Mrs Jones, a professional singer, has continued to inspire others with her bravery and emotional performances of Danny Boy at the BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year awards, and Abide With Me before kick-off in front of more than 80,000 fan at the Challenge Cup final at Wembley.
Her husband, 29, died of an undetected heart condition and she is determined to raise awareness by sharing her story.
“I just know that he would be so proud,” Mrs Jones, who lives in Northowram, said of her husband. “There’s nothing that I can do about losing Danny, there’s nothing that’s going to bring him back. But if I can save one more family going through what we have done that’s my goal,” she said.
She says she has felt privileged to sing at major events, adding: “I would not be doing that if it was not for Danny.
“I want to keep his memory alive. That’s really important to me.”
The couple’s twins, who will have to be tested to see if they have inherited the condition, celebrated their first birthday earlier this month, and although they will grow up without their father by their side, she wants her children to live a life where there are “smiles all around the house”.
“I do not want my children to grow up in a sad house,” she said.
Mrs Jones’s world fell apart one weekend in May on an afternoon that had begun like many others with her husband, also a Welsh international, turning out for his club Keighley Cougars. But during the match against London Skolars, he collapsed and later died of an undiagnosed hereditary heart disease. In the aftermath of losing her husband, Mrs Jones admitted she has been overwhelmed by the support she has received from rugby league players and fans.
Following her husband’s death, the RFL has made heart screening for players at Championship and League 1 clubs mandatory.