Lizzie Jones MBE will sing Abide With Me at this Saturday’s Challenge Cup Final, albeit with a different setting.
She has recorded a special version of the historic anthem to celebrate Rugby League 125th anniversary atop Castle Hill above Huddersfield, the birthplace of the sport in 1895.
It will be played out live in the stadium and on BBC One’s broadcast of the Final prior to the teams entering the field, before Lizzie performs the National Anthem live for the few hundred people at Wembley.
It will be the second time Lizzie, who was awarded the MBE in the New Year’s Honours for services to rugby league and charity, has performed at Wembley, following her rendition of Abide With Me at the 2015 Final, months after the tragic death of her husband, former Keighley and Wales player Danny.
“The Challenge Cup Final and Wembley will always be special to me with the memories of singing in Danny’s memory five years ago, so I was delighted to be asked to perform again as part of what will be a very different Final this year,” said Lizzie.
“We enjoyed our day recording Abide with Me on Castle Hill, when we were blessed with some glorious autumn weather to show off the Yorkshire scenery, and while it won’t be the same without the thousands of Rugby League supporters joining in at Wembley, hopefully our 2020 version will be something different for the BBC viewers to enjoy, with a link to the history of rugby league in Huddersfield in the sport’s 125th year.
“Singing the National Anthem in a mostly empty stadium will also be a very different experience. But it will still be a special moment for the fans at home and the players and officials of Leeds and Salford, and I am looking forward to being a part of their momentous day.”
Lizzie’s performance is also a timely reminder of her ongoing work for the Danny Jones Defibrillator Fund, which has raised tens of thousands of pounds to allow defibrillators to be provided for Community rugby league clubs and other sports clubs and organisations, with a focus in 2020 on women’s and girls’ rugby league.