Rugby League legend Jamie Peacock MBE has been appointed as the very first ambassador of a Leeds hospice, in memory of his much-loved dad.
The former Leeds, England and Great Britain rugby league player takes up the role at Sue Ryder Wheatfields Hospice in Headingley, in memory of his father Darryl, who spent time there before he passed away.
Jamie, 41, is one of the most successful players in Super League history, having won a total of nine Super League championships, four Challenge Cup winners medals, been named in the Super League Dream Team eleven times and won the Man of Steel award in 2003.
The former Leeds Rhinos star who is England RL team manager and still works with Leeds Rhinos - as part of the commercial team - is as well-known for his motivational speaking, mentoring and charity work, as he was for his prolific and dramatic exploits on the pitch.
Leeds born Jamie told the Yorkshire Evening Post: “This is a real honour for Sue Ryder to ask me to be an ambassador for such a special place.
“My dad spent a lot of time at Wheatfields in 2013 before he passed away at just 59 with lung cancer. It is an incredible hospice with wonderful staff that makes what is a very difficult stage of anyone’s life that much easier to deal with.
“Sue Ryder Wheatfields will always have a special place in my family’s heart because of the expert and compassionate care they were able to give my dad and the time with Dad that they gave to me and my family before he passed away.
“I really hope I can help the hospice to show the vital service it provides for the local community so that we can increase awareness and more people in Leeds can have the same experience that my family did.”
Jamie has already run the London Marathon twice for Sue Ryder Wheatfields. His latest was this year and raised £3,700, finishing the gruelling 26.1 mile course in an astounding three hours and 35 minutes.
National healthcare charity Sue Ryder provides specialist palliative, neurological and bereavement support. Sue Ryder Wheatfields provides palliative care to its inpatients at the hospice as well as community nurse specialists bringing hospice to home across Leeds.
Sue Ryder Wheatfields also provides a day hospice which helps people living with long term conditions to avoid unnecessary trips to hospital, as well as offering social opportunities alongside others experiencing similar circumstances.
Lizzie Procter, acting director of Sue Ryder Wheatfields said: “We are absolutely thrilled to have Jamie on board as our first ambassador.
“Jamie shows such passion for Wheatfields and he has already provided us and our patients with brilliant support in recent years. We are looking forward to working together in the future in what I know will be a fantastic partnership.”
Leeds born James Darryl Peacock MBE, is an English professional rugby league footballer who played for the Leeds Rhinos and the Bradford Bulls in the Super League, and captained both Great Britain and England at international level.
Jamie was appointed Member of the Order of the British Empire (MBE) in the 2012 New Year Honours for services to rugby league.
Jamie was part of the Leeds team that won the 2014 and 2015 Challenge Cups.
He announced that he would retire from the sport upon the conclusion of the 2015 season and take up the role of football manager at Hull Kingston Rovers.
He now works as England Rugby League team manager when required and is still involved at Leeds Rhinos - as part of the commercial team.