Saturday, 16 January 2010


Money donated to the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation by Newcastle United will be used to benefit teenage cancer patients from across the region.

£30,000 raised by auctioning player’s shirts from the recent Ipswich v Newcastle match will go towards the new Teenage Cancer Unit in the Great North Children’s Hospital at the Royal Victoria Infirmary (RVI) in Newcastle.

The specialist unit is being constructed by the Newcastle upon Tyne NHS Trust in partnership with the Teenage Cancer Trust in the ‘penthouse’ of the new children’s hospital. It will provide teenage cancer patients with a home away from home when they require treatment and bridge the gap between existing services, which are designed for younger children or adult patients.

Kevin Nolan and Steve Harper were two of the Newcastle United players whose match shirts were auctioned. They came into the RVI with Pauline Buglass, head of fund-raising for the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation, to meet with 15-year-old patient Rebecca Johnson from Ashington.

Rebecca often faces time in hospital when she is receiving treatment for Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Currently that means staying with younger children within the paediatric wards with few distractions available for patients her age.

Rebecca says: “The nurses here are fantastic and really care but it can be hard being in a ward with so many younger patients.

“There are lots of arts and crafts and games for the children but not much for older kids. It’s not that you always want to be playing games or whatever but time here can really drag if you don’t have something to do.

“Nobody wants to be in hospital but when the Teenage Cancer Unit is finished there will be other patients my age who understand how I feel and more things for me and my friends to do when they come and visit.”

The contribution from the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation will help fund flat screen televisions and entertainment equipment in the new unit, which will treat teenage cancer patients from across the North East.

Pauline Buglass, head of fund-raising for the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation, says: “The overwhelming majority of money donated to the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation is used to fund clinical trials into new cancer drugs not yet licensed by the NHS.

“However Sir Bobby was always committed to contributing to other cancer related projects when appropriate and his family felt this was one of those occasions.

“We’re very grateful to Newcastle United and to all the people who helped make this donation possible by bidding for the match worn shirts.”

Sir Bobby spent 13 successful years as manager of Ipswich Town and in recognition of his connection to both clubs match shirts were especially made for this game featuring the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation logo.

Newcastle won the match 4-0 including a hat-trick of goals from Kevin Nolan and his number 4 shirt alone raised an incredible £5,400.

Kevin says: "It was a real pleasure for myself and Steve to meet with Rebecca at the RVI. Being in hospital is difficult to deal with at any age but particularly so for teenage patients.

"The sum of money raised from the shirts we wore at the Ipswich game was phenomenal and it's terrific that it's being put to such a good cause through the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation.

"We hope that patients in the Teenage Cancer Unit benefit from it for years to come."