Thursday, 30 June 2011


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: