Friday, 23 December 2011

MERRY CHRISTMAS AND THANK YOU FROM EVERYBODY AT THE SIR BOBBY ROBSON FOUNDATION



By Tom Chaplin, Writer in Residence

I'll be honest - I'd never seen or even heard of a Biomarker Generator or an ultra compact cyclotron as it is sometimes known, and I certainly didn't know how they work! I didn't know its complex radioactive shield weighed a colossal nine tonnes and I wasn't aware that buying and installing one would cost you the best part of £1.2m.

But this Christmas the Foundation are getting ready to unwrap a pretty special Christmas present to itself and its partners working in cancer care in the North East and Cumbria. This piece of truly cutting edge, specialist equipment will benefit many fighting cancer and amazingly is only the second of its type in the world and the first in Europe.

With its largest single investment to date the Foundation was able to contribute £625,000 to the purchase of the machine with a further, equally large contribution coming from Newcastle University.

The Foundation's contribution was only possible as a result of the hard work, generosity, passion and courage of patients, their families, fundraisers and supporters and it is to you that we would like to say thank you and wish you a very special, merry Christmas.

Sir Bobby's family and everyone connected to the Foundation is and always has been moved by the lengths fundraisers young and old are prepared to go to: from cake sales to Charity Balls, Great North runners to fancy dress days, you do a wonderful job and make us all so proud. Please, keep doing what you are doing - it is truly remarkable, incredibly worthwhile and very very much appreciated.

We hope you all have a wonderful Christmas and a happy and healthy New Year!

Thursday, 22 December 2011

GENEROUS CHRISTMAS GIFT FROM FUND-RAISERS



The Sir Bobby Robson Foundation received a very generous Christmas present this week when volunteer fund-raiser Gina Long presented a cheque for £102,112, bringing the total raised for the cancer charity to over £3.9 million.

Gina was the driving force behind Sir Bobby’s Breakthrough Auction, the hugely successful online auction and charity ball organised jointly in aid of the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation and Breakthrough Breast Cancer.

She travelled from her home in Suffolk to the Sir Bobby Robson Cancer Trials Research Centre in Newcastle upon Tyne to officially present Lady Elsie Robson with the money raised.

Accompanied by her husband Andrew, Adam Clark and Clare Morley, who were part of the team of volunteers that delivered Sir Bobby’s Breakthrough Auction, presenting the cheque was a moving occasion for Gina who organised the auction in memory of Sir Bobby and breast cancer campaigner Sally Balch.

She says: “Thankfully Sir Bobby’s Breakthrough Auction became a massive success with support from all over the world.

“That’s because my dear friends Sir Bobby and Sally, who I was so privileged to have enjoyed special times with over many years, were both extraordinary people. They both lived their lives inspiring those around them and certainly made the world a better place.

“Along with thanking the brilliant auction committee, I want to thank the donors of the magnificent prizes, the bidders and all our incredible sponsors who helped make this event such an amazing success.

“We are looking forward to having another Sir Bobby’s Auction and Ball in October 2013 and we hope it will be even bigger than the first!”

Over £50,000 was raised at Sir Bobby’s Breakthrough Ball, which was held in Bury St Edmunds in October and attended by Lady Elsie and Sir Bobby Robson Foundation Patrons Mick Mills and Delia Smith.

All other funds were raised through the online auction which featured 188 incredible lots including television, driving and sporting experiences, sports memorabilia, luxury treats and holidays. It was supported by all of Sir Bobby’s former teams, all the Premier League clubs, Celtic, Rangers and representatives from the world of rugby, horse racing, snooker, tennis, cricket and more.

Gary Lineker, Ant and Dec, Katherine Jenkins, Graeme Swann, Sir Alex Ferguson, Arsene Wenger, Denise Welch, Andre Villas-Boas, Harry Redknapp and Fabio Capello are just some of the high profile names who donated very special prizes and helped make the auction such a success.

The star lot was Jose Mourinho`s `FIFA Ballon D`Or` World Coach of the Year Award trophy, which raised a staggering £26,000.

Other prizes included:

• FC Barcelona experience with personal presentation by Josep `Pep` Guardiola
• David Beckham signed shirt and ball
• Middlesbrough FC, Newcastle United FC and Sunderland AFC VIP match day experiences
• Watching an England training session with Fabio Capello and signed shirt presentation
• Silver replica of the cup ‘Taca de Portugal’, won by FC Porto under management of Sir Bobby
• Two tickets to the final of Britain`s Got Talent 2012
• Tickets to Katherine Jenkins Daydream tour and a meet and greet after the show
• Behind the scenes tour of the BBC Match of the Day studios with Gary Lineker
• Ipswich Town FC experience playing on the Portman Road turf
• A Loose Women ‘experience’ as guests of Denise Welch

The Sir Bobby Robson Foundation was launched by Sir Bobby and Lady Elsie in March 2008 to help find more effective treatments for cancer including the clinical trials of new drugs within the Sir Bobby Robson Cancer Trials Research Centre at the Northern Centre for Cancer Care, Freeman Hospital in Newcastle.

Over 1,000 patients have been treated on clinical trials since the Sir Bobby Centre opened in February 2009 and an additional 1,000 patients have been enrolled in other research studies, studying the biology and genetics of cancer to help develop and improve treatments.

Last week (13th December) the charity announced delivery of a cutting-edge piece of cancer treatment and research equipment purchased through a record £625,000 contribution from the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation.

The ultra-compact ABT Molecular Imaging Biomarker Generator is only the second of its type in the world and the first in Europe and will help with the diagnosis and treatment of cancer and other serious diseases including Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

It is being installed within Newcastle University, which has invested a further £600,000, to create a specialist environment in the School of Chemistry to house the new equipment.

Lady Elsie says: “This has been a very positive year for the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation and I hope everyone who has helped out in any way shares my pride at our achievements together.

“My family and I greatly appreciate the support we continue to receive and getting together with Gina and the team behind Sir Bobby’s Breakthrough Auction is a wonderful way to round off 2011.

“They have worked so hard, and on a voluntary basis, to help us raise money and I’m extremely grateful to them all. To have raised over £200,000 for the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation and Breakthrough Breast Cancer is an absolutely magnificent achievement.”

Tuesday, 20 December 2011

2012 YORKSHIRE CHARITY FARMHOUSE BIG BREAKFAST



The countdown has begun to Yorkshire’s annual charity Farmhouse Big Breakfast in the New Year.

Hosting the three-day fund-raiser in 2012 are John and Mary Pearson, who run award-winning Lovesome Hill Farm B&B, Northallerton, with help from fellow members of Herriot Farm Stay Group. Farm Stay UK is Britain’s biggest network of farm-based accommodation providers.

Big Breakfast will return on January 24 to 26, with morning and afternoon sittings catering for up to 150 Big Breakfast guests.

Three charities will benefit from each day’s proceeds - the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation, the Farm Crisis Network, which supports problem-hit farming people and families, and Northallerton-based Herriot Hospice Homecare, which serves patients with life limiting illness throughout Hambleton and Richmondshire.

Over the years, Yorkshire Farm Stay members have hosted and raised thousands of pounds for charity through the annual Big Breakfast beano. Once again, hearty Yorkshire farmhouse breakfasts will be served up at Lovesome Hill Farm, with all food sourced on the doorstep in support of local suppliers.

Local businesses and food suppliers have already offered to support the event through sponsorship and product donations. They include Barclays Bank, Darlington, Lloyds TSB Agriculture, Cummins Young Accountants, Thirsk, fellow Farm Stay member Crakehall Water Mill, Stamfrey Farm, Northallerton, Acorn Dairy, Archdeacon Newton, Spring House Farm Shop, Scruton, JM & S Greengrocers, Northallerton, Beavers Butchers, Masham, Yorkshire Dales Meat Co, Patrick Brompton, and Shortridge in Topcliffe.

Big Breakfast sittings on all three days will be held from 10.00-11.30am and 1.00-2.30pm. Tickets, priced at £15, are available from Mary Pearson on 01609 772311, e-mail lovesomehillfarm@btinternet.com

“The 2012 event is already creating a great deal of advance interest. We are now open for Big Breakfast bookings, while other offers of sponsorship and food donations will also be welcome,” said Mrs Pearson.

Lovesome Hill, which received a ‘Flavours of Hambleton’ accolade in the 2007 Breakfast of the Year Awards, is a mixed beef and sheep farm, rearing Aberdeen Angus beef cattle, along with Mule and Masham sheep, and Hampshire-cross pigs on behalf of a neighbouring farmer.

“Some of their bacon will be on the Big Breakfast menu, so you can’t get more local than that!” added Mrs Pearson.

Monday, 19 December 2011

FAMILY'S CHARITY EVENT RAISES £4,500


A North East businessman’s charity night involving family and friends has raised over £4,500 for the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation. Chris Lines, a director of PR and marketing agency Press Ahead, arranged the event at Sedgefield Racecourse in memory of his mother Margaret Lines, who died of cancer two years ago.

Over 130 people turned up to the fundraiser, where they were entertained by leading North East band the Emerald Thieves. Hundreds more people bought tickets for a special raffle that was linked to the event, with a line up of sporting prizes donated by David Beckham, Andy Murray, Steve Cram, Sir Chris Bonington, Newcastle Racecourse, Durham County Cricket Club, Berghaus, Sunderland AFC, Pulman Volkswagen and many others.

All proceeds from ticket sales for the event and raffle have been donated to the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation. On Friday, Chris, accompanied by his 92-year-old grandmother Lillian Smith, his father Peter Lines and sister Kate English, presented a cheque to Lady Elsie Robson.

During the last two years, Chris and Kate have committed themselves to raising money for the charity. Following two Great North Runs, the recent event and raffle were the latest initiatives in an ongoing fundraising effort. Margaret Lines was cared for at the Northern Centre for Cancer Care in Freeman Hospital, which is also the home of the Sir Bobby Robson Cancer Trials Research Centre.

Lady Elsie says: "It was a great pleasure to meet Margaret’s family. They’re doing a wonderful job of raising money for the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation and I’m very grateful for their support. I have no doubt Margaret would be very proud of their efforts in helping other people fighting cancer."

Chris adds: “I was delighted with the outcome of my event and raffle and am really grateful for the support I received from family, friends and colleagues. In the greater scheme of things, £4,500 might not seem to be a huge amount, but it’s a bigger total than I expected and I know that it will be put to excellent use by the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation. The money that we raised will play its role in helping to improve the early detection and treatment of cancer – knowing that fact makes all of the hard work involved feel more than worthwhile.”

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

‘FIRST IN EUROPE’ CANCER EQUIPMENT DELIVERED



A cutting-edge piece of cancer treatment and research equipment purchased through a record £625,000 contribution from the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation is being installed this week in Newcastle upon Tyne.

The ultra-compact ABT Molecular Imaging Biomarker Generator is only the second of its type in the world and the first in Europe and will help with the diagnosis and treatment of cancer and other serious diseases including Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

It is being installed within Newcastle University, which has invested a further £600,000, to create a ‘specialist environment’ in the School of Chemistry to house the new equipment.

The Biomarker Generator will play a significant role in the development of new cancer treatments and its delivery is a very proud day for everyone involved with the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation.

Lady Elsie says: “It’s wonderful to see this piece of equipment actually becoming a reality and being prepared for use.

“We rely on the cancer expertise of our medical trustees who are always looking for promising new treatments which could make a real difference to people currently fighting cancer as well as helping with research into the disease. And when they explained the benefits of the Biomarker Generator to my family and I we shared their enthusiasm.

“It’s a very significant investment for our charity, the largest we’ve made so far, and something we simply couldn’t have done without the incredible support we receive.

"It's truly humbling when you think about the many thousands of donations and fund-raising events which have gone into making this happen.

“We’re extremely grateful to every fund-raiser and every single person who makes a donation and will continue to ensure the money is invested in the very best possible way.

“I’m very proud that the charity which my husband launched is continuing to make such a difference for other people fighting cancer. He would share my fervent hope that this equipment helps to save lives.”

The Biomarker Generator creates radioactive tracers which are given to patients who then undergo scans, which is also known as imaging. The information collected through this imaging helps doctors understand where the disease is in each patient, how serious the disease is, and the underlying processes and pathways that are sustaining the illness. The tracers can also be used to see whether a new drug has penetrated a tumour and whether a new treatment is damaging the tumour cells and stopping them growing.

Herbie Newell, Professor of Cancer Therapeutics at the Newcastle Cancer Centre at the Northern Institute for Cancer Research, Newcastle University, says: “The Biomarker Generator is cutting-edge technology that will allow us to make sure that we deliver the best possible care for each patient we treat, whilst learning at the same time as much as possible about our new drugs.”

Tom Welch, President and CEO of ABT Molecular Imaging, Inc., producer of the Biomarker Generator, says: “ABT is honoured to be associated with the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation and is excited to be a collaborative partner of Newcastle University in their efforts to advance cancer research.”

Funding for the Biomarker Generator was made possible thanks to fantastic ongoing support for the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation, the cancer charity Sir Bobby Robson launched in 2008.

It is continuing to fulfil Sir Bobby’s ambition to help find more effective treatments for cancer and to focus on new treatments which directly benefit people currently fighting the disease as well playing an important role in wider research into the disease.

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

LEE NELSON WINNING BIIDDER FOR SAFC VIP BOX


Congratulations and thanks to Lee Nelson of Wearside Interiors Ltd for his winning bid of £600 to enjoy Martin O’Neill’s managerial debut at the Stadium of Light in a VIP box.

Lee will be taking his family to the Sunderland AFC v Blackburn Rovers game on Sunday as a festive treat.

Sunderland kindly donated the Stadium of Light VIP experience for this weekend’s game to Sir Bobby’s Breakthrough Auction, the online auction which recently raised over £200,000 for the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation and Breakthrough Breast Cancer.

However, due to unforeseen circumstances the original winner of the lot was unable to attend the game so it was auctioned again at very short notice.

The VIP match experience includes a private box and balcony for 10 people for Sunderland v Blackburn Rovers a buffet meal served in the box before kick-off, use of the Magic Moments Bar pre and post match (drinks not included), a match day programme per person and two car park passes for the fixture.

Thanks again to Lee and to Sunderland AFC for their generosity.

Since Sir Bobby and Lady Elsie launched the charity in 2008, the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation has raised over £3.5 million to help find more effective treatments for cancer.

It funds projects within the Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which directly benefit cancer patients from across the north east and Cumbria, including the clinical trials of drugs at the Sir Bobby Robson Cancer Trials Research Centre.

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

DONATIONS MADE IN MEMORY OF GARY SPEED


Ahead of Gary Speed’s private funeral service on Friday, Louise Speed has asked for any donations made in his memory to come to the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation or the John Hartson Foundation – two cancer charities which Gary strongly supported.

Last year Gary took on a new challenge and raised over £7,500 for the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation by running the London Marathon. He also attended the Foundation’s golf day in April at Rockliffe Hall, Darlington.

Lady Elsie Robson commented: “I’m extremely touched by the request for donations in Gary’s memory to come to the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation or John Hartson Foundation.

“To be thinking about other people like that at such a difficult time is incredible and I understand Louise believes it’s what Gary would have wanted.

“I’m very grateful and my thoughts will very much be with Gary’s family and friends on Friday.”

More information and donations to the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation can be made at www.sirbobbyrobsonfoundation.org.uk and www.johnhartsonfoundation.com for the John Harston Foundation.

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Gary Speed


Commenting on the tragic death of Gary Speed, Lady Elsie Robson said “I’m very shocked and very sad.

“Gary was a lovely boy and Bob thought a lot about him as a player and as a person.

“He regarded him with great respect and he was such an important part of the team Bob had at Newcastle.

“He was a wonderful and generous supporter of our charity and seemed to have a bright future ahead of him.

“I hope those who loved him don’t suffer too much.”

Gary most recently supported the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation by attending the charity’s golf day in April and he also undertook the London Marathon to help raise funds.

He will be a great miss.

Thursday, 10 November 2011

BORO FANS BACKING SIR BOBBY AND FIGHTING CANCER


Generous Middlesbrough fans have raised an incredible £13,416.36 to fight cancer by playing football at the Riverside Stadium.

The charity match was the third organised in aid of the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation by Andy Clark, a national fuel manager from Billingham, bringing the total raised for the north east cancer charity to over £28,000.

Organised through the website of popular Middlesbrough fanzine Fly Me To The Moon, the game in May included ex Boro players Bernie Slaven, Craig Hignett, Colin Cooper, Marlon Beresford, Neil Maddison and Nicky Mohan. It attracted an enthusiastic crowd of family and friends who generated a lively atmosphere and went on to enjoy a post match celebration in the club’s Legend’s Lounge.

The match was strongly contested and the score after 90 minutes stood at 2-2 with goals from Neil Maddison and Eddie Woodall for the home side with Paul Kell and Johnathon Gallagher scoring for the away side.

The home side won the match on penalties after scoring an injury time equaliser after a dubious penalty decision threatened to leave them on the losing side, a fitting end to a keenly contested match.

Andy says: “it was a fantastic night that will live long in the memory of those involved thanks to the ex Boro players who came along to support the cause and the Boro fans groups Twe12th Man and Red Faction who gave fanatical vocal support from the stands.

“Last years’ match was a great success but this years’ match managed to top it and even beat total raised despite the current tough economic climate.

“Thanks must also go to Janice Foley for holding an art auction which helped boost the fundraising total by around £2,000 and local producer Nick Small who produced a commemorative DVD of the evening which raised several hundred pounds. Plans are already afoot to organise one final match to go out with a flourish!"

Andy and Rob Nichols, editor of Fly Me to the Moon, met with Middlesbrough FC chairman Steve Gibson to officially present the money raised.

Steve is a Patron of the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation, which directly benefits cancer patients from across the north east and Cumbria.

Steve Gibson says: “Once again, this was a fantastic effort by a big-hearted group of Boro supporters.

"I was deeply touched when I was asked to be a patron of Sir Bobby's Foundation and I'm delighted Middlesbrough FC's involvement is already making a real difference in raising funds for such a wonderful cause."

Monday, 24 October 2011

SIR BOBBY'S BREAKTHROUGH AUCTION RAISES £202,774 TO FIGHT CANCER


Sir Bobby's Breakthrough Auction ended last night (Sunday 23 October) and raised an incredible £202,774 for the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation and Breakthrough Breast Cancer.

The auction, and a ball in Suffolk held on Thursday (20th October), were organised by volunteer fund-raiser Gina Long in memory of Sir Bobby Robson and her friend breast cancer campaigner Sally Balch.

Gina is rightly proud of what has been achieved and says: "Sir Bobby's Breakthrough Auction and Ball has been a magnificent success.

"This has all been made possible because of the enormous love and respect for Sir Bobby Robson, who I was privileged to call a great friend.

"So many football clubs wanted to do their bit to honour Sir Bobby and the support from auction prize donors, sponsors, individuals, companies and the generous bidders have helped make it a huge success and way beyond our wildest dreams.

"I did this in memory of Sir Bobby and my beautiful friend Sally Balch who lost her battle with breast cancer. I hope the fantastic auction committee, who have worked so hard, have done them justice."

Over £50,000 was raised at Sir Bobby's Breakthrough Ball, which was held in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, and attended by Lady Elsie Robson and Sir Bobby Robson Foundation Patrons Mick Mills and Delia Smith.

All other funds were raised through the two week online auction which featured 188 incredible lots including television, driving and sporting experiences, sports memorabilia, luxury treats, dining, jewellery, clothing and holidays. It was supported by Sir Bobby's former teams, football clubs as far away as Oregon, USA, and representatives from the world of rugby, horse racing, golf, snooker, tennis, cricket and more.

Sir Alex Ferguson, Gary Lineker, Ant and Dec, Katherine Jenkins, Graeme Swann, Josep ‘Pep’ Guardiola, Arsene Wenger, Denise Welch, Andre Villas-Boas, Harry Redknapp and Fabio Capello are just some of the high profile names who donated very special prizes and helped make the auction such a success.

The star lot was Jose Mourinho's FIFA Ballon D'Or World Coach of the Year Award 2010 trophy, which raised a staggering £26,000.

Other prizes included:

• FC Barcelona experience with personal presentation by Josep ‘Pep’ Guardiola
• Two match tickets and hospitality at 2012 UEFA Champions League final
• David Beckham signed shirt and ball
• Wimbledon Centre Court tickets to the 2012 Championship
• Watch England training session with Fabio Capello and signed shirt presentation
• A silver replica of the cup ‘Taca de Portugal,’ won by FC Porto under the management of Sir Bobby
• Ipswich Town FC experience to play on the Portman Road turf and be coached by legendary player
• Two tickets to the final of Britain`s Got Talent 2012
• Red Arrows VIP day at RAF Scampton
• England rugby shirt and tickets to a 6 nations game
• Customised vintage Milner safe, professionally restored with a Newcastle United legends theme
• Tickets to Katherine Jenkins Daydream tour and a meet and greet after the show
• Behind the scenes tour of the BBC Match of the Day studios with Gary Lineker
• Create your own genuine Branston Pickle experience
• Tea for two and a tour of the House of Commons
• Luxury Grand Bahama island holiday
• A Loose Women TV experience as guests of Denise Welch
• Luxury three bedroom villa holiday in Carvoeiro, Western Algarve, Portugal
• VIP football experiences at Rangers, Celtic, Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea, Doncaster Rovers, Hull City, Cardiff City, Swansea, Millwall, Arsenal, Tottenham Hotspur, Queens Park Rangers, Crystal Palace, Wolverhampton Wanderers, Aston Villa, Nottingham Forest, Coventry City, Blackburn Rovers, West Ham United, Colchester United, Burnley, Fulham, Ipswich Town, West Bromwich Albion, Birmingham City, Bolton, Wigan, Sheffield United, Bristol City, Watford, Norwich City, Derby County, Liverpool, Everton, Leicester City, Middlesbrough, Newcastle United, Sunderland AFC, Porto, PSV Eindhoven, Sporting Lisbon, and Portland Timbers (Oregon, USA) football clubs

Lady Elsie Robson says: "Sir Bobby's Breakthrough Auction has taken a tremendous amount of effort. My family and I are extremely grateful to Gina for her vision, hard work and enthusiasm in creating this ambitious charity venture.

"We're also very appreciative of all the many people who have pitched in and helped by volunteering their time, expertise and incredible auction prizes.

"When my husband and I launched our charity in 2008 Bob said he felt like he was at the helm of a team again. What he called his last and greatest team and taking on a challenge far greater than any football match.

"We began with the aim to equip a centre to trial new cancer drugs and we've been able to fulfil that ambition and do so much more.

"Our medical trustees are always looking for the next breakthrough, the next promising investment into cancer equipment or training. Always looking to fulfil Bob's ambition to provide truly world class facilities for others fighting cancer.

"Sadly cancer affects us all in one way or another, but with us all pulling together, one day we will beat it."

Thursday, 20 October 2011

DELIA SMITH BECOMES A PATRON OF THE SIR BOBBY ROBSON FOUNDATION



Delia Smith CBE, Britain's best selling cookery writer and joint majority shareholder in Norwich City Football Club, will tonight (20th October) be announced as a Patron of the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation at a dinner to raise funds for the charity.

Sir Bobby’s Breakthrough Ball at The Apex in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, will also raise money for Breakthrough Breast Cancer and Lady Elsie Robson is taking the opportunity to announce Delia’s new role.

Lady Elsie says: “After my husband died I asked a small group of friends if they would help support our ongoing efforts fighting cancer through the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation.

“Delia was one of those people and, very kindly, she immediately agreed. Since then we’ve been waiting for an appropriate occasion to announce her support.

“It’s taken a bit longer than any of us had planned and I’m happy that we’re finally in a position to thank Delia publicly for her behind the scenes support. Sir Bobby’s Breakthrough Ball will be a wonderful event and a very fitting occasion to welcome Delia formally as a Patron of the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation.”

Sir Bobby and Lady Elsie launched the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation in March 2008 to help find more effective ways to treat and diagnose cancer. It funds projects which directly benefit cancer patients including the clinical trials of new drugs at the Sir Bobby Robson Cancer Trials Research Centre in Newcastle upon Tyne.

Delia joins a select group of high profile supporters as a Patron of the charity. Sir Bobby’s Ipswich Town captain Mick Mills, Newcastle United legend Alan Shearer, Sunderland AFC’s Niall Quinn and Middlesbrough FC chairman Steve Gibson all generously contribute in that role.

Delia says: “Sir Bobby was a great friend and inspiration to me for many years, and it is a privilege to help continue the magnificent work he and Elsie started in any way I can.

“Cancer knows no boundaries, and it is wonderful that this is one struggle in which all football clubs have united. This evening is just one step towards the ultimate aim – of eradicating the scourge of this disease.

“It will happen, and by supporting Sir Bobby’s Breakthrough Auction and Ball we can make it happen sooner rather than later. I look forward to a record-breaking evening.”

Sir Bobby’s Breakthrough Ball and Sir Bobby’s Breakthrough Auction aim to raise £250,000 for the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation and Breakthrough Breast Cancer.

The online auction has attracted 160 lots which include unforgettable sporting and television experiences, unique memorabilia donated by some of the biggest names in football and incredible luxury holidays.

Football clubs across the UK, and as far away as the USA, have donated genuinely ‘money can’t buy’ prizes and the auction has the support of all of Sir Bobby’s teams.

Lady Elsie adds: “One of the greatest strengths of our charity, and something I know my husband was immensely proud of, is the way football clubs have joined together to back our cause.

“In his last book, Bob wrote that cancer takes no account of your team, your age or anything else and the wonderful support we’re receiving from football clubs all over the world reflects that. We’re extremely grateful to Delia and all the football clubs and fans who are contributing to our fight against cancer.”

Norwich City is generously contributing to Sir Bobby’s Breakthrough Auction by offering the opportunity to present the Anglian Home Improvements Player of the Month Award on the pitch at Carrow Road. The prize also includes two tickets to the Premier League fixture between Norwich City and Sir Bobby’s former club Newcastle United on Saturday 10th December and a meal at the Gunn Club.

For more details on Sir Bobby’s Breakthrough Auction or to make a donation please go to www.sirbobbysbreakthroughauction.com or follow via Twitter @sirbobbyauction.

The majority of auction lots end on Sunday 23rd October although a small number will be completed at the Ball tonight.

Saturday, 8 October 2011

SIR BOBBY'S BREAKTHROUGH AUCTION KICKS OFF


A fantastic online auction with over 130 fantastic prizes that aims to raise £250,000 for the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation and Breakthrough Breast Cancer officially begins on Saturday 8 October.

An array of priceless sporting memorabilia donated by luminaries at home and abroad head the fabulous auction which runs for two weeks at www.sirbobbysbreakthroughauction.com.

The likes of Brazil legend Pele, Barcelona coach Pep Guardiola and the great Sir Alex Ferguson and other football royalty have donated auction items – highlighting the impact Sir Bobby had on the world game.

His former clubs, Newcastle and Ipswich Town, have also donated fantastic prizes. Jose Mourinho, the Real Madrid coach who worked with Sir Bobby, has donated the most significant personal trophy he has landed so far in his phenomenal career - his FIFA Ballon D’Or World Coach of the Year trophy.

But fantastic sporting memorabilia from the likes of Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas, a host of Premier League clubs and sporting stars such as Lewis Hamilton and Graeme Swann are just the tip of the iceberg for an auction which has more than 130 items going under the virtual hammer.

Also on offer is a true once in a lifetime opportunity for two people to watch training at FC Barcelona, arguably one of the greatest teams ever. Meet and greet with the superstar players and receive a first team signed shirt presented by their manager Pep Guardiola himself. Plus two tickets for a FC Barcelona home match at the Nou Camp, one of the world's truly great stadiums.

Pep Guardiola said “I encourage everybody to take part in this charity initiative for Sir Bobby Robson. For us as a club and for myself it is an honour to participate and to have the opportunity to invite two persons to come and visit our training session, attend a game at our stadium and receive a signed shirt from our players. I encourage everybody in England and around the world to contribute in this and to fight against cancer by supporting Sir Bobby’s Breakthrough Auction.”

Mr Guardiola was interviewed about why FC Barcelona are supporting the auction on the club's website here.

Further prizes include a 24-hour supercar experience, a week at a luxury resort in the Bahamas and a personal tour of Alnwick Castle given by the Duchess of Northumberland are other highlights.

The auction, and an associated lavish fundraising ball, was the brainchild of Gina Long, a friend of the Robson family, who wanted to organise a fundraising event to truly honour Sir Bobby and also Breakthrough Breast Cancer, which she is a passionate supporter of and Chair of The West Suffolk Group.

Gina Long, Founder, added: “I have been truly touched and overwhelmed by the generosity of every single donation of an auction item and messages of goodwill and support.

“We set out to raise as much money as possible for these two wonderful charities and as we launch this wonderful auction, I know we are heading in the right direction.

“I would now ask everyone to take a look at the wonderful auction list as there really is something for everyone. Please offer what you can to help make a difference to people suffering from this wretched disease. You can also help make a big difference by simply texting SBBA11 £3 to 70070.”

Mark Robson, Sir Bobby’s son and part of the Auction Organising Committee, said: “We are hugely appreciative of every single individual or organisation which has donated something for the auction or offered their support.

“My dad would have been so proud at the way everyone has pulled together by contributing such incredible prizes.”

The auction is being held in memory of Sir Bobby and breast cancer fundraiser Sally Balch.

It will run on-line for two weeks from this Saturday 8th October until Sunday 23rd October – and aims, alongside the fundraising ball, to raise £250,000 for both charities. You can register to bid from Saturday on the website and the full list of superb prizes can be found at www.sirbobbysbreakthroughauction.com.

Adam Clark, Project Manager, said “It is an incredible campaign. Every day we hear from someone who wants to help or has something to donate. The support for what we are doing has been amazing. The quantity, breadth and quality of the items donated to the auction lies testament to the combined reach of Breakthrough Breast Cancer and The Sir Bobby Robson Foundation.”

The auction is being supported by HRH the Prince of Wales, Prime Minister David Cameron, culinary legend Delia Smith, John McCarthy and former Ipswich Town stars George Burley, Alan Brazil and Mick Mills MBE.

David Sheepshanks, a member of the organising committee, said: “Sir Bobby Robson was loved across the entire football world.

“He touched so many people’s lives and it is only fitting that so many people across football, sport and beyond have got behind this wonderful auction.

“I now urge everyone to start bidding to help raise as much money as possible for these two wonderful charities.”

For more details on the fundraiser or to make a donation or for more information go to: www.sirbobbysbreakthroughauction.com or follow via Twitter @sirbobbyauction

Thursday, 29 September 2011

SOLO ALPS CHALLENGE FOR SIR BOBBY


Wendy Taylor, the head of Media at Newcastle United, has given herself a mountain to climb. In fact, she has given herself several. Beginning this Saturday (1 October), Wendy is embarking on a solo 180km trek around the Alps, an extraordinary challenge which she is undertaking to raise vital funds for the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation.

A keen amateur climber in her rare moments of free time away from running the press office of the club Sir Bobby both supported and managed, Wendy will travel through three countries - France, Italy and Switzerland - climbing a total elevation gain of 28,500ft, close to the height of Mount Everest, during her seven-day adventure.

Setting off from Les Houches, France, Wendy is tackling a more taxing variation of the Tour du Mont Blanc, which circles the Mont Blanc Massif, the highest mountain in the European Union. To make the task even more arduous, she is attempting to complete the trek inside seven days rather than the more traditional 11 or 12 and is doing it on her own.

There will be few creature comforts; no hotels, no gourmet meals, not even a tent. "I'll be carrying a bivvy bag on my back and camping under the stars," says Wendy, who joined Newcastle in the summer of 2010 after a spell in a similar role at Newcastle Airport. "I'll have food for seven days with me: cereal bars, energy gels for lunch, dehydrated survival-style packet meals for dinner.

"It gets dark at around 7.20pm at the moment, so I'll be setting off before sunrise every morning. Being by myself for so long will be one of the hardest tests, so I'm hoping to stay in touch with the outside world through my mobile phone and Twitter. I'll have seven spare batteries for my Blackberry weighing down my backpack!"

While Wendy was raised as a Sheffield Wednesday supporter (her granddad was former Wednesday manager, Eric Taylor), she was always aware of Sir Bobby's contribution to football, in the North East and beyond. When she arrived at St James' Park, she quickly came to appreciate his lingering influence at all levels of the club, as well as the important work carried out in his name by the Foundation.

"Working at Newcastle, it felt right to me to support a charity close to the heart of the club and the people connected to it," Wendy says. "There's a portrait of Sir Bobby in the manager's office at the training ground and there's a natural synergy there.

"I always admired him for his management, his time with England, but I didn't know so much about what he had done here and what he meant to people. I certainly do now. When you speak to fans, to people who worked with him or played for him, they all talk about him in such high terms. You mention his name and people want to sit down and talk about their memories."

Wendy's day-to-day work involves dealing with media enquiries, responding to stories, both positive and negative, handling press conferences, organising player interviews and taking managerial charge of Newcastle's matchday programme, website and nufc.tv. It is a relentless endeavour, magnified by global fascination with the Premier League.

"Sir Bobby seems to be universally missed and universally adored," she adds. "To be able to do something like this to raise money for his Foundation feels like a real privilege as well as a challenge and I'm sure it'll be that which keeps me going."

Since its launch in 2008, the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation has raised over £3.5 million to help find more effective treatments for cancer.

It funds projects within the Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which directly benefit cancer patients from across the north east and Cumbria, including the clinical trials of drugs at the Sir Bobby Robson Cancer Trials Research Centre.

Wendy will be providing regular updates on her progress through her Twitter page. You can follow and offer her encouragement at @wendytaylor13 and please contribute to her fundraising efforts at www.justgiving.com/wendynufc.

Monday, 19 September 2011

SPECIAL SUPPORT FROM THE 'SPECIAL ONE'



Jose Mourinho is donating the most prestigious personal trophy of his glittering career to a charity auction in memory of Sir Bobby Robson, his mentor at Sporting Lisbon, Porto and Barcelona.

Real Madrid's Portuguese manager, 48, was award Fifa’s Ballon D’Or World Coach of the Year award in 2010, the year he won the Champions’ League with Inter Milan. He beat off competition from World Cup winner Vicente Del Bosque and rivals including Carlo Ancelotti, Pep Guardiola and Sir Alex Ferguson to pick up the award.

Now he is donating the trophy he received to become a lot in Sir Bobby's Breakthrough Auction, which runs online from 8-23 October. The auction, and a charity ball next month in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, will jointly raise funds for the Sir Bobby Foundation and Breakthrough Breast Cancer.

Mourinho has recognised the part Sir Bobby played in his own football development by giving the wonderful money-can’t-buy prize – to the delight of organisers and the Robson family alike.

Sir Bobby’s son, Mark, says: "The entire family is completely astounded by this generous gift from Mr Mourinho. We are thrilled and so thankful to him. My Dad would have been so proud by the way all the different clubs and football managers around the world are pulling together by contributing such incredible prizes."

The auction has attracted over 100 prizes and is also being supported by HRH the Prince of Wales and Prime Minister David Cameron.

Auction founder Gina Long adds: "When I started planning the auction, I could only have dreamt that I would get support from such magnificent people and great companies.

"But now that has been turned into reality, it can only help us achieve our goal of raising more than £250,000 for the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation and Breakthrough Breast Cancer."

Other 'money can't by' auction prizes include:

  • Join Fabio Capello at an England Senior Men’s training session
  • Attend the Professional Footballers’ Association Awards ceremony
  • VIP Manchester United tickets donated by Sir Alex Ferguson
  • A morning on Newmarket Heath with ten times Champion Trainer Sir Michael Stoute
  • A personal tour of Alnwick Castle given by the Duchess of Northumberland
  • Tickets to Centre Court at Wimbledon
  • Tickets to The Masters snooker final in 2012, with the chance to meet the players
  • A personally addressed and signed replica helmet, donated by Lewis Hamilton
  • A rare limited edition of Pele’s autobiography, signed by the man himself
For more information on how to bid or donate prizes please visit www.sirbobbysbreakthroughauction.com

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

GREAT RUNNERS GET TOGETHER FOR SIR BOBBY


Fund-raisers registered with the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation to run the Great North Run were invited to an informal get-together at the Copthorne Hotel, Newcastle, last night (Tuesday 13th September).

It was an opportunity for Lady Elsie and representatives of the charity to meet and thank the runners who have been training hard ahead of Sunday. It was also a chance for Mark Allison, also known as Run Geordie Run, to talk about his experiences running across America for charity and to inspire runners in the final days before their half marathon challenge.

One of the runners with a very personal reason to support the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation is Sir Bobby’s youngest son Mark Robson.

This is the fourth year Mark and his partner Kim Jennings have tackled the Great North Run in aid of the charity and getting together with other fund-raisers ahead of the run was a very positive experience for him.

Mark says: “My family and I are very grateful to everyone who is undertaking the Great North Run in aid of the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation and it was a pleasure to meet just some of the runners.

“No doubt there will be some very accomplished athletes raising funds for us but for some people the 13 miles will be a huge personal challenge. It means a great deal to us that they are taking on that challenge to raise money for Dad’s charity. In many cases I expect, like me, they have their own personal reasons for wanting to support a cancer charity.”

Sir Bobby Robson launched his charity in March 2008. He described it as his last and greatest team and was very proud of its achievements.

The Sir Bobby Robson Foundation helps the experts find more effective ways to treat and diagnose cancer. It funds projects which directly benefit cancer patients including the clinical trials of drugs at the Sir Bobby Robson Cancer Trials Research Centre.

Mark adds: “I’ve done the Great North Run three times now and I’m always struck by the camaraderie and support along the route.

“In many ways it’s like the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation. It’s a very big team effort and the sheer volume of people taking part adds up to something very special.

“I’d like to wish all the runners the very best of luck and to thank everyone who has sponsored a friend, colleague or family member for taking part. The money raised will be used very carefully helping people fighting cancer and in finding more effective treatments to beat this disease.”

Other Sir Bobby Robson Foundation Great North Runners include a team of doctors, nurses and administrators from the Sir Bobby Robson Cancer Trials Research Centre at the Freeman Hospital and Tom Chaplin, the charity’s official Writer in Residence.

The runners were inspired by the presence of Mark Allison who recently raised over £100,000 for the Children’s Foundation and St Benedict’s Hospice by running across America in just 100 days.

He spoke to the runners to help motivate them in their final training and gave useful advice about the physical and mental aspects of running long distances.

Mark says: “It was a huge honour to be asked to talk to the Great North Runners raising funds for the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation.

“It was a pleasure to chat with them and to draw upon my recent experiences running 3,100 miles across the USA. I hope I have helped inspire them as they take on their own running challenge on Sunday.

"Both of my parents lost their battle against cancer. I know only too well just how valuable the treatment and research undertaken by the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation is in the ongoing fight that claims the lives of so many of our loved ones.

"I know from experience how motivating it can be running to raise funds for causes which mean a lot personally. I hope everyone doing the Great North Run for charity achieves their goals and I wish them all the very best of luck."

Friday, 9 September 2011

KEEGAN'S 'ENTERTAINERS' TICKETS


Tickets are selling fast to watch Kevin Keegan's 'Entertainers' side take on Liverpool at the home of the Newcastle Falcons, Kingston Park on Sunday 9 October.

The game will benefit five charities, including the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation, and will feature one of the charity's Patrons - Alan Shearer - as well as a host of well known players.

Liz Luff from the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation says: “Sir Bobby was thrilled when his Italia 90 World Cup squad reunited to play Germany in aid of the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation.

“I expect he would be equally enthusiastic about seeing Kevin Keegan’s Entertainers line up in black and white again too. The game is raising money for five wonderful charities and promises to be a fantastic night.

“We’re grateful to everyone involved in its organisation and particularly to Alan Shearer who will once again be wearing the iconic number 9 shirt. He does a wonderful job as a Patron of the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation and his commitment is much appreciated by Lady Elsie and Sir Bobby’s family.”

All ticket news, and information about the charity dinner on Saturday 8th October, can be found here www.theentertainersreunited.co.uk

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

A WINNER IS A WINNER IS A WINNER - TOM'S BLOG



In preparation for my entry to this Great North Run in aid of the Foundation, I found myself running the streets of Newcastle this week, squeezing in some training between work commitments.

I had my route mapped out that included, naturally a trip past St James’ Park (avoiding The Strawberry pub on this occasion for obvious reasons) when I chanced upon the Sir Bobby Robson Memorial Garden.

I must confess I was on holiday when the garden was unveiled earlier in the year so although I've visited it since with my son I missed the fanfare of the launch.

Well, trust Sir Bobby to provide a place for a sit down when I needed it most and a suitable spot for quiet contemplation (“13 miles? 13 miles? How am I going to make 13 miles?”). The garden, if you haven’t been, is nestled almost under the eves of the football ground, and even thought it’s hemmed in by the Metro station, busy Gallowgate and bustling Chinatown it manages to provide a place to rest a while and a chance to escape the daily grind.

As I was sat there exhausted (all I needed was a sweat-less vest and a tab to complete the image of “useless runner”) one crystal clear thought entered my mind. For all the talk of jovial Sir Bobby, of the glint in his eye, of clich├ęs gone wrong, of mispronounced young footballer’s names, of the amiable, affable man from County Durham done good, for all that talk… one thing stands out at the garden. Sir Bobby Robson was an out and out winner.

As player with twenty England caps. In management at FC Barcelona, the greatest, most prestigious club in football. In Holland, the home of total football, and in Portugal where they mass-produce flair players (as he might have said) “for fun”. In England as well, with unfancied underdogs Ipswich Town.

And in life too – with a family to be proud of, a charity bearing his name that continues to do wonderful things and a scoreline against cancer that read Robson 4 v Cancer 0, prior to his final battle with the disease in 2009. Winning, quite simply, was what he was all about.

So I kept that with me as departed to complete my training circuit of the city and although I didn’t count the miles I did, I felt stronger for the experience and just a little bit more determined. I’m not going to win the Great North Run clearly, but I will like the thousands of runners alongside me on the day gain something on completing it, and that’s the knowledge that I can achieve something that I previously thought impossible. I guess too, that’s what Sir Bobby was striving for with the Foundation. Take on cancer… and do whatever it takes to win.

If you would like to support my run, your donation would be very gratefully received at:
http://www.justgiving.com/tomandphilsrun

Monday, 15 August 2011

CHARITY ‘FAN’S DERBY’ IN MEMORY OF JAMIE WRIGHT



A very special charity football match took place on Sunday (14th August) with Newcastle United fans taking on Sunderland AFC fans at Harton Technology College, South Shields, to decide the ‘fans derby.’

The game was in memory of 22-year-old father of two, Jamie Wright from South Shields, who died suddenly last month of unknown causes.

Both teams wore their respective club kits and players donated money to the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation in recognition of Jamie’s passion for football and Newcastle United – and on this occasion it was Sunderland AFC who won the match.

Players included Jamie’s brother Jordan Wright who says: “It’s a fitting tribute to my kid as he taught me to play football because our dad was ill.

“Jamie was a massive toon fan and even though he had agoraphobia he would try his best to get to games.

“I think giving all the proceeds to charity is what he would want as he was a giving and very caring person.”

The game came just six days before the official derby when Newcastle United travel to the Stadium of Light in the Premier League.

With local bragging rights up for grabs it was a very competitive match including a disallowed goal and two missed penalties. The Sunderland fans team eventually claimed the trophy winning 2 – 1 and the match raised over £500 for the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation.

Before the game the players and crowd joined together for a minute’s applause to remember Jamie and it was officially kicked off by former Newcastle United player Olivier Bernard.

Liz Luff, from the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation, says: “It was a fantastic match and a very special way to remember Jamie.

“It was wonderful to see players and fans in red and white and black and white uniting behind a common cause and the game was played in a very positive spirit.

“The Sir Bobby Robson Foundation funds projects which help people fighting cancer from all across our region and we’re very grateful to everyone who contributed at the fan’s derby for their support.”

Since its launch in March 2008, the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation has raised £3.5 million to help find more effective treatments for cancer. It funds projects within the Newcastle upon Tyne NHS Foundation Trust, which directly benefit cancer patients from across the north east and Cumbria.

In addition to equipping the Sir Bobby Robson Cancer Trials Research Centre at the Northern Centre for Cancer Care in Newcastle, the charity has also funded a specialist clinical research nurse and research doctor within the Sir Bobby Centre.

It has funded leukaemia laboratory research equipment and contributed to the Royal Victoria Infirmary’s teenage cancer unit in Newcastle.

It has also enhanced a children’s waiting area, jointly funded a patient ‘quiet and information area’ with help from Macmillan Cancer Support and part funded a complementary therapy programme providing symptom relief for cancer patients – all at the Northern Centre for Cancer Care.

It is also working with Newcastle University and has purchased an ultra-compact cyclotron which will help with the diagnosis and treatment of cancer. The cyclotron costs in excess of £500,000 and is only the second of its type in the world and the first in Europe.

Thursday, 11 August 2011

CHARITY FOOTBALL MATCH IN LONDON



On a weekend when sadly football league games in London are at risk of cancellation, one game will definitely be going ahead in the capital.

On Saturday afternoon (1.30pm 13th Aug), a Sky Sports Fanzone team will be taking on Newcastle United Women’s (NUWFC) team in a charity MATCH to mark the start of the Premier League season.

Jointly in aid of the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation and NUWFC, which is an amateur team and relies completely on donations and sponsorship, the match will be played at Imperial College Sports Ground, Harlington, London.

Sponsored by www.cdmrecruitment.com and www.alpha-omega-logistics.com, the match brings together the Fanzone commentators from a variety of different teams who provide the regular fan’s view on games broadcast by Sky Sports.

Darren Williams, the Newcastle United Fanzoner and event organiser, says: “Local rivalries and club commitments will be forgotten as we all come together as one to form Fanzone United.

“It will be a very special match and our charity choice was a no brainer really. Ask any Newcastle fan or any other football fan for that matter, who has been a gentleman and legend of the game and you will usually get the same answer... Sir Bobby Robson.

“We sadly lost Sir Bobby to cancer a few years ago, but his legacy lives on in the form of the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation which is continuing the work Sir Bobby started and helping other people fighting cancer now.”

Since its launch in March 2008, the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation has raised £3.5 million to help find more effective treatments for cancer. It funds projects within the Newcastle upon Tyne NHS Foundation Trust, which directly benefit cancer patients from across the north east and Cumbria.

Phil Eadon, chairman of NUWFC, adds: "The ladies are delighted to be taking part in the match and supporting the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation.

“NUWFC also needs help and support to enable them to continue to operate and I hope that Sir Bobby would have been proud of what they do and the way that they play their football. 'Bobby's Girls' are really looking forward to the match against the Sky Sports Fanzone United lads on Saturday and let the best team win!"

To support the event please donate to the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation via the Fanzone United Just Giving website at www.justgiving.com/fanzone4sbr.

Or to donate to NUWFC please go to their website www.nuwfc.com where sponsors and donations will be gratefully received via their Paypal application.

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

SIR BOBBY'S BREAKTHROUGH AUCTION


Chelsea manager Andre Villas-Boas is supporting Sir Bobby's Breakthrough Auction this October by donating a very special auction item.

Mr Villas-Boas has kindly offered to present a Chelsea shirt with 'Sir Bobby' on the back and signed by the whole team in person to whoever wins in the online charity auction.

And this week, Mr Villas-Boas also paid tribute to Sir Bobby, who had such a great impact on his own career in football, by saying: "Sir Bobby is a true legend of the game. He was a great man, a great manager and a real gentleman. I often think of him and the inspiration he gave me not only at Porto but throughout his life.

“Sir Bobby has influenced everyone who ever met him with his enthusiasm and knowledge of the game. The fact that so many fellow managers and clubs are supporting this campaign speaks more about his legacy than I ever could.

“That Bobby is fighting against cancer even now shows that even though he was taken from us his spirit will never die. I am proud to support the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation and Sir Bobby’s Breakthrough Auction and I hope fans across the country and throughout the world will do the same.”

Gina Long, the auction founder, said: “Having Mr. Villas-Boas and Chelsea Football Club’s support for Sir Bobby’s Breakthrough Auction is very special indeed.

“Their auction prize truly is a ‘money can’t buy’ prize, it also reflects the amazing man Sir Bobby was.

“I have been lucky enough to spend many special times with Sir Bobby and Lady Elsie, seeing first-hand the time and kindness he gave to all who approached him – even when picking him up from Stansted Airport for Ipswich Town’s 25th celebration of winning the FA Cup – it took Bobby over two hours to walk through the airport, generously taking time and talking to all who stopped him.

“Sir Bobby gave so much, to so many, and Sir Bobby’s Breakthrough Auction is a spectacular way for the country to have the opportunity to give something back in Bobby’s memory helping Sir Bobby’s Foundation and Breakthrough Breast Cancer.

“We have been overwhelmed by the support from Premier League and Championship clubs and we want to encourage companies and individuals to get involved by donating an auction prize or by bidding in October or simply by making a donation – it really will make the biggest difference in raising crucial funds and achieving our goal of raising £250,000.”

Sir Bobby's Breakthrough Auction and Ball is endorsed and backed by the FA Chairman David Bernstein, the Robson family and Delia Smith, who will be attending the ball.

Former Ipswich stars, including Mick Mills, Ipswich captain for 10 years during Sir Bobby’s reign as manager and now a Patron of the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation, will also be attending.

For more information please visit www.sirbobbysbreakthroughauction.com

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

KEEGAN’S ENTERTAINERS CHANGE STADIUMS


The charity football match between Kevin Keegan's 'Entertainers' and Liverpool's 'Spiceboys' on Sunday 9th October is now being staged on Tyneside.

The match will now be played at the Newcastle Falcon’s Kingston Park stadium instead of the Northern Echo Darlington Arena as originally advertised.

Event organiser, Steve Wraith, says: “We would like to wholeheartedly thank Darlington for offering to stage the match but it should be staged on Tyneside.

“I’m delighted that the fans will have the chance to see their heroes, such as Keegan and Shearer, one more time in Newcastle.”

Fans who have already bought tickets from Ticketmaster will be contacted and given first allocation at Kingston Park, which is now the point of contact for new ticket sales.

Former Newcastle favourites Ruel Fox and Brian Kilcline are also now confirmed in Keegan’s team.

Ruel says: “I had some great times on Tyneside. There was a feel good factor at the club in those days under Kevin Keegan and Terry Mac and it will be nice to experience that again.

“It's a big honour to be asked by Kevin to play for him one last time and I'm just as excited about pulling on the shirt and playing for those incredible fans again as I am seeing some old faces. Bring it on!”

With Phil Thompson heading up a Liverpool side, which now includes new confirmations Rob Jones and Stig Bjornebye, it promises to be a very special night. Fans are urged to buy their tickets now to avoid any disappointment.

Five charities - the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation, NSPCC, Pathways, CHUF and the Alan Shearer Centre - will benefit from the game.

All information can be found on the website www.theentertainersreunited.co.uk.

Sunday, 31 July 2011

ENDURING PULL OF SIR BOBBY


On the second anniversary of Sir Bobby Robson’s death this new blog from Tom Chaplin, writer in residence with the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation, feels particularly appropriate:

Wagers huh? They don’t half cause you problems sometimes. Like the one I made about competing (that is categorically not the right word for it but there we go) in the Great North Run if my Writer in Residence with the Foundation came together. As you know because you’re reading this, the residency DID come to together and so here I am fulfilling my end of the bet, preparing for the run.

Recently, another bet was made through the medium of twitter that has drawn a huge amount of interest in the last couple of days. If a certain player didn’t sign for Newcastle United one twitter user wagered, he would donate £100 to the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation. All fine there and very noble principles. But what happens if the donation goes unpaid?!

For those unused to twitter, a very brief guide. It is a site where you share your thoughts on the world. Share what you’re doing, where you’ve been or where you’re going and friends can thus keep track of what each other are up to. It’s a 21st century social thing, where your friends are “followers” and all that matters must fit into 140 characters, which is kind of barmy I know but that’s the way it goes.

A key player in the drama, twitter user @TaylorandBesty picks up the story: “Here was a guy who’d made a bet and lost (the player Gervinho signed for Arsenal instead) but didn’t make good on his promise. To me and others it was an ‘I am Spartacus’ moment. We thought, for a bit of laugh, if a hundred people donated a pound to the Foundation we would have honoured his promise on his behalf.”

#IAmColin was born. Users share topics with others by the use of a hashtag – i.e. people who might want to talk about North East football might search for and use the hashtags #nufc or #safc to follow discussion online about their team. What followed can only be described as a phenomenon.

By the time @TaylorandBesty went to bed on Thursday evening (28th July) the donation had been made – three times over. The hashtag had worked. And the giving didn’t stop. Football fans of all colours and crests donated, pressed into action by modern technology and the good old fashioned pull of Sir Bobby. Heart-felt £1 donations were made, sometimes £2 or £3 pounds, then tens and twenties, fifties even.

The money poured in. Some were moved by the laugh of it all, happy to part with cash to be involved with #IAmColin, others were more sensitive – if you owe Sir Bobby you should pay, went the thinking.

As Friday came to a close @TaylorandBesty was hoping for even more – “donations are heading £1500 which for something that started out as a bit of fun is fantastic”, and by way of an update he tweeted later “keep donating and get us to £2000 this weekend”. Absolutely fantastic.

So it’s a cautionary tale. 1) If you make a bet on the internet, pay up or face the music, and 2) If you think you owe Sir Bobby something, try your best to come through on your end of the bargain. Please?

All of which set me thinking. I owe Sir Bobby 13 miles of the Great North Run. I guess I’m just going to have to find a way of honouring the bet. See you in South Shields.

If you’d like to follow the progress of #IAmColin or donate, search for it on twitter – you’ll find it! Or, if you’d like to support my run, please do so at www.justgiving.com/tomandphilsrun

Saturday, 30 July 2011

FANTASTIC NEW FUND-RAISING TOTAL


The Sir Bobby Robson Foundation has reached a fantastic new fund-raising milestone and the total raised to fight cancer now stands at £3.5 million.

Pauline Buglass, head of fund-raising for the charity, says: "Everyone involved with the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation is mindful that the success of the charity ultimately belongs to one man.

"Without Sir Bobby Robson this charity, everything it has achieved and will go on to achieve, would not have happened.

"He always said we were a team and that everyone who made a donation or helped in any way was part of that team. But it was his complete commitment to this cause, and to helping other people fighting cancer, which has made the charity what it is today.

"We are very proud to continue under his name and to build on the legacy he has left us. I am sure he would be very proud and grateful to know how great the ongoing support for his charity is."

In the last year, the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation has funded a research doctor and research nurse specialising in clinical trials of new cancer drugs at the Sir Bobby Robson Cancer Trials Research Centre, Northern Centre for Cancer Care, Freeman Hospital, Newcastle.

Together with Macmillan, it has jointly funded a new patient ‘quiet and information area,’ also at the Northern Centre for Cancer Care, and is working with Newcastle University and has purchased an ultra-compact cyclotron, which will help with the diagnosis and treatment of cancer.

The cyclotron costs in excess of £500,000 and is only the second of its type in the world and the first in Europe and is expected to be in place from November this year.

None of this would be possible without the tremendous ongoing donations and support from fund-raisers. Sir Bobby's family and everyone involved with the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation are very grateful.

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

CANCER CHARITIES UNITE TO FUND NEW PATIENT ‘QUIET AREA’



The mutual promise made between Sir Bobby Robson and his Newcastle United goalkeeper Shay Given to do something together in the fight against cancer is now being fulfilled.

During Sir Bobby’s final battle with the disease he was very active raising funds and awareness of the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation. Republic of Ireland goalkeeper Shay, who recently signed for Aston Villa FC, is equally passionate about raising funds to help improve cancer treatment and is a Patron of Macmillan Cancer Support.

When the two men last met they discussed a joint project which sadly could not be achieved during Sir Bobby’s lifetime. With the launch of a new cancer facility jointly funded by the two charities and provided by the Newcastle upon Tyne NHS Foundation Trust that promise has now been realised.

Launched today (Tuesday 26th July), the new quiet area will benefit visitors to the Northern Centre for Cancer Care, Freeman Hospital, Newcastle, who come from across the region for specialist treatment.

Tucked away in a peaceful corner of the hospital, it is now a comfortable space for visitors and patients to relax between appointments with books and a television. It is also stocked with useful information about cancer.

Lady Elsie Robson officially opened the quiet area alongside Maureen Rutter, Macmillan Cancer Support director, and Sir Leonard Fenwick, Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust’s chief executive.

Lady Elsie says: “I’m very proud to see this wonderful new facility open. As someone who spent a great deal of time in various hospitals while my husband received treatment I can appreciate the value of quiet space such as this.

“Bob would be very proud to be working together with Shay and Macmillan to fund this new facility. I know Shay is disappointed not to be here but my husband would have understood his pre-season football commitments mean he has to be elsewhere.

“I hope the new quiet area provides a relaxing space for visitors to the hospital for many years to come.”

Tragically, Shay lost his mum Agnes to cancer when he was just five-years-old and he still has memories of the seemingly endless hospital stays.

Shay says: “It’s great to see Macmillan Cancer Support using the money raised from Fashion Kicks 2008 towards this fantastic, much needed facility.

“It is even more special for me because it has been made possible through collaboration with the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation.

“Sir Bobby was not just a great gaffer, but also a great friend. This new facility will operate just like Sir Bobby would want it to with the ‘door always open and everybody welcome to come in.’

“My wife Jane and I are really disappointed at not being able to attend the official opening due to work commitments. We hope this new quiet area will become a well-used place to relax within this busy hospital environment as well as providing visitors with useful information about cancer.”

Fashion Kicks is an annual charity fashion show which features Shay and his football team mates strutting their stuff alongside professional models. It began on Tyneside in 2004 and has raised hundreds of thousands of pounds to help fight cancer.

The new quiet area the Northern Centre for Cancer Care will potentially benefit tens of thousands of patients and visitors. Over 300 cancer patients visit the hospital every day for radiotherapy treatment alone.

Kevin Hayes, Macmillan Information and Support Service manager at the Northern Centre for Cancer Care, says: "I’m very grateful that Macmillan, the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation and Shay felt that this project was worthy of their support.

“Undoubtedly without it we would have been unable to make an idea into a reality. Thanks to their help we have been able to provide a comfortable, welcoming and relaxing area for our patients and visitors which I have no doubt will be well used and popular.”

Monday, 18 July 2011

TOM'S BLOG: THE NIGHT I MET SIR BOBBY


As I was pounding the mean streets of Monkseaton today in my preparation for running the Great North Run in support of the Foundation, three questions came to mind:

1) Jeez, how on earth is my bionic knee going to manage 13 miles of this?

2) Am I really, NO REALLY, capable of cutting out all chocolate – as is necessary - between now and the race?

3) When, prior to him becoming the permanent personification of gentlemanly gracefulness and steely-eyed determination to me, did Sir Bobby Robson first enter my life?

Questions one and two were answered swiftly (“it quite possibly won’t” and “no, of course I’m not capable of that”, in case anyone was asking), but the third sent me on a wonderful trip - through time, my childhood and the football landscape as some like to call it, all during the course of a 30 minute run.

Of course, my first “meeting” with Sir Bobby wasn’t in 1999 when he took over as manager of Newcastle United, though his unique strength of character during that time sprung immediately to mind as the ‘sixty clicks’ generation of Kieron Dyer and Craig Bellamy tested his every skill, as must the backbiting and classless behaviour of the club’s board.

Neither was it, obviously, the time I stood high in the Gallowgate end of St. James’ Park with my son on one side and father on the other as I clapped until my arms were numb, with tears running unashamedly done my face, as Sir Bobby said one last goodbye before a charity match not long before his death. Beautifully sad times.

But then, the run now in full swing (ish), my memory finally kicked into gear as I effortlessly rolled back the Sir Bobby years – the spritely, tanned, relaxed Englishman abroad at Barcelona with the youthful Ronaldo in tow, the tactician supreme in Holland and that little jig at Italia 90. My mind raced – did I know of him when he took the England job in 1982? Nope, I was six. The Euros in ‘84? I have no idea! But then Mexico ‘86…. he must connect somewhere in my brain with the World Cup Finals in Mexico 1986, right? Er, no again. How is this possible I asked myself? But then for me – as a ten year old – that World Cup was about Gary Lineker’s hat trick, Peter Beardsley’s class, that cheating cheater Maradona and matches on telly in the middle of the night. The manager just didn’t play a part in that for me I’m afraid.

So then I flash forward to time where Sir Bobby most definitely was there in my conscious. Italia 90. A wonderful summer of English flair and despair, of New Order featuring John Barnes, of Pavarotti and…. Gazza. That’s it. Paul Gascoigne. My ultimate ball-playing, showboating hero. He created the “Meet Sir Bobby” moment for me. Not at the finals, where Sir Bobby’s contract situation, sweeper system debates and a roller coaster of gusty draws, epic wins and penalties (as ever) meant Sir Bobby was on the mind of everyone in the country, not just football-obsessed me.

I can now pinpoint – with the help of Google and Youtube that I was first aware of Sir Bobby Robson on the night of April 29th 1989. He and I were at Wembley together that night. I say together in perhaps the loosest possible sense of word, in that he was there as the manager of England, while I was on a school trip. We sat in the old Wembley on those bench-like seats beside the dog track from where no one could ever see any of the action. They were cheap - school trip friendly – seats. It was a World Cup qualifier with Albania. In the dying moments Sir Bobby brought Gazza on to see what he could do in an England shirt. The press, as always, had been on Sir Bobby’s back - this time clamouring for Gascoigne, believing he was the answer to England’s problems, though in reality he was far from a dead cert even as squad player for the World Cup. As it turned out, moments later Gazza picked up the ball in midfield, barged his way into the box with a trademark turn of pace and guided the ball into the far corner of the Albanian net. England 4, Albania 1. Gazza’s fate, tears and all, was sealed.

After the goal the TV cameras picked out a joyous Sir Bobby cheering the goal with that finger waggle of his. He can be seen mouthing the words “that’s the one” – widely believed to be the moment Sir Bobby realised he might just be able to rely on the combustible but brilliant Geordie lad. Looking back, that moment (and his relationship with Gazza that followed) was vintage Sir Bobby. Professional but passionate. Fiercely determined to be his own man. Compassionate and proud. Father-figure and leader. A winner, in sport and in life.

That was the night I met Sir Bobby. Maybe, this little jog of ours to South Shields in September isn’t going to be so hard after all.

If you would like to support my run, your donation would be very gratefully received at:
http://www.justgiving.com/tomandphilsrun

Saturday, 16 July 2011

KEEGAN'S 'ENTERTAINERS' TAKE ON LIVERPOOL FOR CHARITY


Former Newcastle United manager Kevin Keegan will return to the dugout when his ‘Entertainers’ team from the 1990s reform to play Liverpool FC’s ‘Spiceboys’ in a match in aid of the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation and four other charities on Sunday 9th October.

Under the management of Kevin Keegan, a team boasting the likes of Les Ferdinand, Rob Lee and Pavel Srnicek, played a thrilling brand of football which won admirers all over the world and propelled the team to consecutive second place finishes in the English Premier League in 1996.

The ‘Entertainers’ are fondly remembered for their flamboyant attacking style and Sky Sports recently described Newcastle United’s 4-3 defeat by title rivals Liverpool as ‘the Premier League’s greatest ever match’ – now the ‘Entertainers’ are ready to put the record straight against a Liverpool team managed by Roy Evans and Phil Thompson.

Kevin Keegan says: “I'm really looking forward to seeing all the lads again and helping to raise a lot of money for the five charities. It's win, win all round.

“Let's see if the entertainers have got it within themselves to entertain a bit.”

Players already confirmed include Newcastle’s Pavel Srnicek, John Beresford and Robert Lee and Liverpool’s Ian Rush, Jason McAteer and Mark Wright.

Tickets for the match at the Northern Echo Arena, Darlington, will be priced at £10 for adults and £5 for children and are available at www.ticketmaster.co.uk from Thursday 21st July. Tickets are expected to be in high demand and to sell out quickly so it’s recommended the fans make early purchases.

The main event ‘The Match’ will provide an afternoon of spectacular family entertainment from two star studded line ups while raising funds for the NSPCC, CHUF, the Alan Shearer Centre, the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation and NE children’s charity Pathways.

On the eve of the match there will also be a celebratory black tie dinner, where legends from opposing teams will reunite to share their memories of the iconic 4-3 game.

The dinner will be held at Newcastle’s Civic Centre on Saturday 8th October and tickets are priced at £65 or £85 for the VIP area and are available by calling 0191 229 9631 or logging onto www.theentertainersreunited.co.uk. Corporate and sponsorship packages are also available.

Thursday, 30 June 2011

TOM CHAPLIN WRITER IN RESIDENCE


Hello, I’m Tom Chaplin the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation’s Writer in Residence. Over the following months and years I am going to be writing creatively on behalf of the Foundation – hopefully with patients, fundraisers and staff - to enrich the environment and output of the Foundation and allow those in contact with the Foundation to explore their creativity.

When the idea of a Writer in Residence project, which is funded through public Arts and Council sponsorship, was first discussed I decided that if the project got the green light I would run the Great North Run in aid of the Foundation. Well, the project did get the go ahead, so here I am facing a run that has challenged many more able and determined runners than little old me!

Having been a keen sportsman, a number of operations on a troublesome knee has left me doing less than I would have liked so the run (or walk if the worst comes to the worst!) is going to be a great challenge. My wife has also decided to run with me, so now it’s a real family affair. We’ll be running in memory of all the great people lost to the disease and hope to raise as much money for the Foundation as possible to support the amazing work it does.

Over the next couple of months I will be blogging about my experiences leading up to the run, hopefully getting hints and tips from talented runners and amazing fundraisers on how to enjoy the day and raise lots of money.

And the advice has actually already started coming in. On Thursday 23rd June, I was lucky enough to meet some amazing people as part of the Foundation’s regular Fundraiser’s sessions at Newcastle’s Copthorne Hotel, an old haunt of Sir Bobby himself. I received great inspiration from a range of fundraisers young and old who attended so that the Foundation and Lady Elsie could thank them in person for their efforts. The huge sums donated (and they were huge) will go a long way to supporting the Foundation’s aims and goals. Those fundraisers present were a credit to themselves and their families. Amongst others, those from Longhoughton Girls FC who raised £800 completing a sponsored dribble and young James McCutcheon who ran the Junior Great North Run in memory of his great aunt were of particular encouragement to me. Their determination stood out a mile (no pun intended).

Also in attendance was Paul Robinson, from Yarm, who’s herculean effort meant he made it across the UK’s C2C route from Whitehaven to Hartlepool - all on a 1980’s BMX! The bike was a gift from his late father, and Paul decided the ride would be a fitting tribute to his Dad and great fundraising opportunity. We agreed! He was kind enough to tell me all about the trip, what a challenge it was and how he battled the burning muscles and uncomfortable saddle. Inspiring stuff.

Now... Where are those running shoes?!

If you would like to support my run, your donation would be very gratefully received at:
http://www.justgiving.com/tomandphilsrun

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

SIR BOBBY'S BREAKTHROUGH AUCTION AND BALL


A unique auction and ball in memory of former England football manager Sir Bobby Robson and breast cancer campaigner Sally Balch are being held this October. The event aims to raise a fantastic £250,000 for Breakthrough Breast Cancer and the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation.

The Sir Bobby Breakthrough Auction and Ball will be held 30 years after one of the legendary manager’s greatest achievements, winning the UEFA Cup with Ipswich Town in 1981. The auction will run for two weeks during Breast Cancer Awareness Month this October, from 8-23 October 2011. The ball takes place at The Apex in Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk, on 20 October.

Sally Balch was a founding member of the Breakthrough Suffolk group and died of breast cancer in 2004. Sir Bobby died of cancer in 2009 following a long fight with the disease.

Gina Long, event founder and chair of Breakthrough Breast Cancer’s West Suffolk group, said: “We all loved Sally and Sir Bobby and so we wanted to hold an event to remember them by. This auction and ball is a spectacular way to raise money for the causes they were so passionate about.

“We have been overwhelmed by support and want to encourage companies and individuals to get involved with our very special Auction and Ball by generously becoming a sponsor or auction prize donor – it really will make the biggest difference in helping create hugely successful events that will do Sally and Sir Bobby proud.”

The event is endorsed and backed by the FA Chairman David Bernstein, the Robson family and Delia Smith, who will be attending the ball, as well as former Ipswich stars, including Mick Mills, Ipswich captain for 10 years during Sir Bobby’s reign as manager.

Mick Mills MBE, now a patron of the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation, said: “All of the players are delighted to support this wonderful auction and ball in memory of Sir Bobby. We are so pleased to celebrate his life here in Suffolk where he made his name. This event is a great way of reminding people of the way he made Ipswich into one of the best teams in Europe, while raising money for a good cause.”

The auction, organised by the respected auctioneers Lacy Scott & Knight, will have “money can’t buy prizes’. A host of sporting clubs, sporting stars, celebrities and companies will be providing auction prizes with details to be revealed in the run-up to October.

Former Ipswich Town chairman David Sheepshanks, who is also on the organising committee, said: “This promises to be a wonderful event in memory of a truly wonderful man and an extremely special lady.

“The auction and ball will raise tens of thousands of pounds for two charities that do an awful amount of good work.”

Chris Askew, Chief Executive of Breakthrough Breast Cancer, said: “Sir Bobby Robson and Sally Balch were two inspirational people and the memory of both has driven this remarkable fundraising effort. Everyone who supports this event can be sure their money will be spent trying to find new cancer treatments to fight this terrible disease. There is much more to be done but with the public’s support we can achieve a future free from the fear of breast cancer.”

Gina is delighted that invited key business leaders and highly regarded individuals, have joined the official committee to deliver the Auction and Ball: Between them they have created a platform to raise significant funds to support the work of Sir Bobby Robson Foundation and Breakthrough Breast Cancer.

Members of the committee; Mark Robson (Chair), Gina Long (Founder), David Sheepshanks, Terry Hunt, Laura Hudson, Austin Cornish, Edward Crichton, Adam Clark, Richard Lindsey, Stephen Foster, Harry Berry, Matt Cable, Mick Mills MBE.

For more information on how to donate go to: www.sirbobbysbreakthroughauction.com