Sir Bobby Robson’s family is proud to announce today that Sunderland AFC chairman, Niall Quinn, has agreed to become a Patron of north east cancer charity the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation.
Niall joins Alan Shearer, Ipswich legend Mick Mills and Middlesbrough FC chairman Steve Gibson as official representatives of the charity, which benefits patients from across the whole region.
Sir Bobby was a frequent visitor to Sunderland’s Stadium of Light and often talked of the warm reception he received at the club. After he lost his hard fought battle with cancer last July Sunderland fans sang Sir Bobby’s name at a pre-season friendly against Celtic. It was a very touching expression of respect – particularly given Sir Bobby’s association with the club’s rivals Newcastle United.
Lady Elsie said: “My family and I are very happy that Niall has agreed to become a Patron of the charity. His involvement is greatly appreciated and we know Bob would have backed our decision to ask Niall for help to carry on the fund-raising work.
“Newcastle United was his first love but my husband wanted success for all the north east teams and we’ve always had wonderful support from Sunderland Football Club and its fans.
“When Newcastle were away from home Bob often enjoyed football at the Riverside or the Stadium of Light. He had great respect for Niall, Steve Bruce and everyone else at Sunderland and enjoyed their company very much.
“Some things go beyond football and anyone who has been through the pain of seeing a loved one fighting this terrible disease will know that.”
The Sir Bobby Robson Foundation was launched by Sir Bobby in March 2008 and it has gone on to raise more than £2.5 million to fight cancer within the region. Its main focus is funding research into more effective cancer treatments and the clinical trials of new anti cancer drugs.
The charity operates within the Newcastle upon Tyne NHS Foundation Trust to provide services not yet available within the NHS. Every project it funds benefits patients from across the north east and Cumbria.
Talking about his new role as a Patron of the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation, Niall said: "I remember the night this Foundation was launched, and today a thousand patients are receiving help from Sir Bobby's efforts. That is incredible.
"The absolute answer was yes when I was asked to become a Patron. In keeping with Sir Bobby's way of being loved everywhere he wanted the places he was revered most to be covered by Patrons.
"Alan, Steve, myself and Mick can't come near what Sir Bobby has done through football and his life, but we are determined to keep the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation moving forward."
Andrew Robson, Sir Bobby’s son, added: “When my dad launched his cancer charity I don’t think he realised quite how successful it would become. The ongoing support we receive from fund-raisers is incredible and very much appreciated.
“We recently passed the £2.5 million mark and every penny is being spent helping people fighting cancer in the north east and Cumbria.
“My mum, my brothers and I are all very committed to continuing the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation’s important work and we couldn’t do that without the help of our fantastic patrons who also include Mick Mills, Alan Shearer and Steve Gibson.
“I know my father would be very proud and grateful to know that his charity is represented by such well respected football men from Suffolk, Tyneside, Teesside and Wearside.
“We had hoped to make this announcement about Niall earlier in the year but were unable to do so due to the travel situation caused by the volcanic ash clouds.
“We’re very happy to be able to do so now and, on behalf of my family, it gave me enormous pleasure to express our thanks and to welcome Niall to his new role as a Patron of Sir Bobby Robson Foundation.”