Continuing our series on women in league, we meet Jenna Brough, married to Super League star Danny Brough…but she’s so much more than just a WAG. She has helped raise over £40,000 for charities close to the sport by pushing her body to the limit, and here she tells us why rugby league means so much to her.
BY JENNA BROUGH
Rugby League has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember, but I never really thought it would play such a huge role.
My father, Ian Madley, played for Hull FC and Hull KR in the 70s and 80s, so there was no getting away from the sport, and when I met my partner Danny Brough [Huddersfield and Scotland international], there really was no escape! Even if we hadn’t got together though, I’d still be a huge supporter and find it hard sometimes to act like a wife rather than a fan who likes to voice her opinions on match day.
When we met though, it was like everything in my life had just slotted into place, and now I’m blessed to be the mum of two boys with a husband who is so laid back, he’s horizontal.
Dan and I had a lot in common really, not just the rugby league, as we both have a passion for fitness and sport. It’s that passion I think that has led me to be so focussed on doing what I can to help others.
The day job for me involves helping people in the mental health care sector, a job I absolutely love even though it involves high physical risk sometimes…it’s all the more rewarding for that. And that satisfaction that comes from helping others is what has probably inspired me to get involved with the Steve Prescott Foundation.
I remember finding out that a friend of mine, Angela Powers, had signed up to climb Kilimanjaro in 2015 for the Foundation and the challenge really appealed to me. I first met Stephen and his wife, Linzi, in 1998 when he played for Hull FC alongside my brother-in-law. Then when I met Dan, he’d also played with Stephen at Wakefield, and says Stephen looked after him whilst he was on an apprenticeship and took him under his wing.
Stephen had wanted to climb the world’s highest freestanding mountain in record time himself but sadly passed away before he could, so the chance to help raise money for his Foundation and climb it in his memory was too good to pass up.
It was an amazing, if difficult, experience and to set a world record for the highest game of rugby league made us all proud to achieve something special in Steve’s memory.
But then, I’m one of those people who when I start I can’t stop!
My fitness passion is like another job…I cannot focus without having goals set & keeping fit and feeling good. Over the years, I’ve been involved in many challenges, lots of 10k runs, half marathons, national and local three peaks challenge, as well as organising a climb to get 110 women involved in rugby league up mountains for charity, raising £30,000 in the process.
Last year I was part of the group that climbed to Everest base camp for the SPF and, yes, I have gone and signed up to climb Kilimanjaro again this year, to set another world record.
Since Stephen passed away, I’ve met patients who’ve suffered the same cancer as him, and who have been treated successfully thanks to the fundraising work that Stephen started. Their stories touched me in so many ways it inspires me to help more.
Rugby league is a family game… we are a whole, special community and we are all here to support each other and this is why it’s the greatest sport of all.