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Davies humbled by OBE award

Published 12/06/2015

Jonathan Davies has been awarded the OBE for his work with the Velindre Cancer Centre
Jonathan Davies has been awarded the OBE for his work with the Velindre Cancer Centre

Former Wales fly-half Jonathan Davies found himself "extremely humbled" to be awarded the OBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours List for fundraising for Cardiff's Velindre Cancer Centre.

Davies' life will always be linked to the disease, his father dying of cancer when he was just 14, and his wife Karen also losing her battle with the illness in 1997.

The 52-year-old received an MBE for services to rugby in 1996, the year before his wife passed away.

Five years ago the Velindre Cancer Centre approached Davies to become patron. Now he is honorary president and overwhelmed to accept another honour, on behalf of widespread fundraising for the Whitchurch-based specialist treatment clinic.

"You certainly don't set out to get these, and I'm very honoured and extremely humbled," Davies told Press Association Sport.

"I've just been part of a team trying to do something to fight back against a horrible disease that has touched so many people's lives.

"So many people have been touched by cancer it's frightening, but fingers crossed we can help in some little way.

"I lost my dad to cancer when I was 14, my mum had to travel to Cambridge from west Wales for his treatment and in those days that was a long, long way.

"My wife passed away, my uncle's had it, and so many of my friends have lost loved ones.

"I think it was five years ago the Velindre approached me to be patron, and then president.

"And my job basically is raising that awareness, we've been so lucky with people like (Wales stars) Sam Warburton and Martyn Williams and (Manic Street Preachers singer) James Dean Bradfield, so many people helping us."

Trimsaran-born Davies rose to prominence in rugby union with Neath, making his Wales debut in 1985.

After a stint with Llanelli he moved to rugby league in 1989, signing for Widnes, representing both Wales and Great Britain and staying in the code until 1995.

Davies managed to resurrect his Wales career on his return to union with Cardiff in 1995, and remains one of the most talented and intelligent playmakers to grace both codes of the sport.

The 32-cap former Wales star admitted he was proud to take his family to Buckingham Palace to receive his first honour 19 years ago - and plans to "make a day of it" this time too.

"I would like to think I will receive this honour on behalf of everyone that works so hard at the cancer hospital," said Davies.

"From the fundraising staff to the doctors and nurses, and all those people who raise money, people do amazing things, because unfortunately they have been touched in some way by this cruel disease.

"I could never have expected to receive something like this: hopefully this is recognition for a lot of hard work from a lot of people.

"I'll be looking forward to receiving the honour: I'll go up with my partner, take my parents and my children - see if we can get everyone in!"

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