Monday, 15 February 2010


Middlesbrough FC Chairman Steve Gibson hopes his new role as a patron of the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation will help to increase fund-raising activities on Teesside.

Gibson has agreed to represent the north-east cancer charity as its Teesside patron and help to spread the word that it is for the benefit of patients from across the entire region.

The Boro Chairman, whose father died of cancer, was unveiled in his new role at a Riverside Stadium news conference attended by Sir Bobby’s widow, Lady Elsie, and his son Andrew.

Gibson said: “It was a privilege to get to know Bobby while he was manager of Newcastle. We became friendly and he continued to be a regular visitor to the Riverside and to our training ground at Rockliffe Park after that.

“He had affection for all the north-east clubs. He was a man of great dignity and well-loved by all fans, so it was an honour to be asked to be a patron for the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation.

“My father died of cancer and there’s hardly a family that hasn’t been affected by it. We believe the Foundation can make great strides forwards in the advancement of treatment for cancer and hopefully find a solution to a complex problem.

“It’s important to stress that the Foundation isn’t just for the people of Newcastle, it’s for the north-east and stretches down to Teesside.

“Bobby wanted the benefits of his Foundation to extend across the north-east and it’s now my job to push the charity as much as I can especially here on Teesside.

“What we are striving to do now is to raise as much capital as possible towards research projects.

Sir Bobby Robson achieved incredible success at home and abroad during a football career that lasted more than 50 years and took him almost as far as a World Cup Final.

The former England player and manager began his professional football life at Fulham Football Club but it could so easily have begun on Teesside when he had a trial with Middlesbrough in 1948.

Sadly for Sir Bobby his trial was unsuccessful, and Middlesbrough’s loss was Fulham’s gain on that occasion, but he always maintained a great regard for the club.

It is therefore appropriate that Sir Bobby’s widow, Lady Elsie, should call upon Steve Gibson to represent Sir Bobby and to help continue the work of his cancer charity.

Lady Elsie said: “My family and I are committed to continuing the work Bobby began though his Foundation and Steve agreeing to help by becoming our Teesside Patron means a great deal to us.

“Bobby thought very highly of Steve and the set-up at Middlesbrough Football Club and I’m sure he would approve of his involvement in his charity.

“We’re very grateful to Steve for formally representing the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation as a Patron and for helping us to raise money to fight this terrible disease.”

Steve Gibson joins Alan Shearer as a Patron of the charity, which Sir Bobby launched in March 2008 following a request for help from his oncologist Professor Ruth Plummer.

So that it could be quickly and easily set up, the Foundation operates within the Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Charity. However, every penny raised for the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation contributes to cancer services and projects which benefit patients from the entire north east region.

Thanks to incredible ongoing support, the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation has now raised over £2.2 million to fight cancer.

In addition to equipping the Sir Bobby Robson Cancer Trials Research Centre, the charity has funded a specialist research nurse and doctor and enhanced a children’s waiting area at the Northern Centre for Cancer Care. It also recently contributed £30,000 to the new Teenage Cancer Unit at the Royal Victoria Infirmary in Newcastle.

The Sir Bobby Robson Foundation operates within the Newcastle upon Tyne NHS Trust and a wider cancer research network to provide services not currently funded by the NHS for the benefit of patients from across the north east.

These services include the clinical trials of drugs which are at such an early phase in their development that they are not yet licensed by the NHS.