RUGBY LEAGUE fans are to be given the chance to join a choir that will lead the crowd in singing “Abide with me” before the kick-off of the Challenge Cup Final, on 27 August, at Wembley Stadium.
A competition is being held by Songs of Praise, together with BBC Sport, which is similar to last year’s FA Cup Fans Choir, in which 64 football fans won the chance to sing at Wembley before the FA Cup Final.
This year, the Rugby League Challenge Cup Fans Choir will be made up of 32 rugby-league fans. Winners will be picked by a judging panel who will consider team loyalty and support.
The panel includes the singer and Songs of Praise presenter Aled Jones; the Leeds Rhinos and England international player Jamie Jones-Buchanan; and Lizzie Jones. Mrs Jones sang before last year’s final in memory of her husband, the former professional rugby-league player Danny Jones, who died after collapsing during a game.
Mrs Jones said: “I’m delighted to be part of the judging panel for this competition. Singing at Wembley before last year’s Challenge Cup Final is an experience I will never forget.
“Rugby-league fans have some amazing stories to tell. I’m sure this competition will find some of the best, and will reward them with a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to perform in front of thousands of people in one of the best stadiums in the world.”
The producer of Songs of Praise, Matthew Napier, said: “We know rugby-league fans are some of the most passionate sports fans out there. This is their chance to show their love for their club by stepping on the Wembley turf and leading a sold-out crowd in a rendition of one of our nation’s favourite hymns, live on BBC1.”
A special edition of Songs of Praise, which follows the fans’ journey to join the choir, will be broadcast the day after the match.
The closing date for applications is 12 June.