Jamie Jones-Buchanan: Leeds Rhinos legend made MBE in New Year's honours

Apprehension turned into pride and delight when Leeds Rhinos legend Jamie Jones-Buchanan was made an MBE in the New Year’s honours.

By Peter Smith
Friday, 31st December 2021, 10:30 pm

Jones-Buchanan is the fourth player from Rhinos’ most successful era to be honoured, following MBEs for his teammates Jamie Peacock and Rob Burrow and former captain Kevin Sinfield’s MBE and OBE.

As well as his rugby league achievements, the 40-year-old is a trustee of Rhinos’ Foundation and his award is for ‘services to rugby league and the community in Leeds’.

The former second-row forward received a letter earlier this month informing him of the honour and, in time-honoured tradition, initially feared the worst.

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Jamie Jones-Buchanan MBE, with wife Emma and their sons Kurgan, aged 12, Dacx, 14, Bane, eight and Lore, 15. Picture by Jamie Jones-Buchanan.

He said: “It came to Headingley, I am not sure why and I thought it was from the tax man.

“It said ‘From Her Majesty’s Service' and usually when lads from Bramley get letters like that it is not always positive.

“I opened it with a bit of apprehension, but I am absolutely over the moon.

“I have always been a bit of a mediaeval romanticist and I’ve talked about the Plantagenet kings and chivalry.

Jamie Jones-Buchanan is a member of Rhinos' coaching staff. Picture by Allan McKenzie/SWpix.com.

“We are almost 1,000 years into the modern world, but it’s as close as you’re going to get to be recognised in that fashion.”

Born in Leeds, Jones-Buchanan spent his entire playing career with Rhinos, making 421 appearances from 1999-2019 and is now a member of the club’s coaching staff.

Capped 11 times by England and once for Great Britain, he battled back from a potentially career-ending injury in his early days at the club to play in seven Grand Final-winning teams, as well as a victorious Challenge Cup side at Wembley.

Also an actor, public speaker and documentary filmmaker, he told the Yorkshire Evening Post the MBE is a “massive, massive honour”.

Jamie Jones-Buchanan spent 20 years as a player with Rhinos before retiring in 2019. Picture by Jonathan Gawthorpe.

He insisted: “I am surrounded by people who do wonderful work in the community and I just try and emulate that and give a little bit back.

“I have a great sense of gratitude for what Leeds has given me as a city; the community, the Rhinos, the stadium at Headingley, everything about the environment that has helped me to grow, to flourish and to become the person I am.

“Whether it’s me, Jamie Peacock, Kevin Sinfield or Rob Burrow, we are all reflections of that environment and what opportunities we’ve had.”

As a trustee of the Rhinos Foundation, Jones-Buchanan has volunteered thousands of hours helping deliver rugby league opportunities to children and young people across the city, many of whom live in areas of considerable deprivation.

His work has included outreach with youngsters from different ethnic and religious communities and children and adults with disabilities, to deliver projects in mental health and well being, literacy and physical activity.

“It is a lovely time of the year to get an award like that, but it is not going to change who I am; my motivations in life are exactly the same,” he stressed.

“God-willing, in 2022 I will carry on doing what I am for the community and beyond with the resources and the people I have around me to help me.”

Jones-Buchanan dedicated the honour to his grandparents, children and wife Emma.

“While I get the recognition, she is and always has been an extension of me,” he said.

“She deserves the recognition as much, if not more than I do.”

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