Thursday, 26 January 2012


A mighty challenge entitled Monsters of Rock is being laid before fans of North East rock music.

The marathon gig of nine straight hours of live music will feature 10 bands ranging from popular up and coming acts to well known names on the regional rock circuit. They will be playing a raucous mix of original material and cover versions at Shildon Civic Hall on Saturday 25th February.

The event is in aid of the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation and is being organised by musician Russ Tippins in memory of live music enthusiast Ronnie Patchett - the man Russ describes as having been the ‘constant face in the crowd.’

Russ explains: “I had the idea for this tribute on the day of Ronnie’s funeral. He used to say to me ‘I wonder what kind of gigs there’ll be after I’m gone’ and I wanted to do something in his memory and which would also help other people fighting cancer.

“He was a huge supporter of live music and Ronnie and his wife Sue were practically permanent fixtures at any rock gig locally. We’re holding this event on the first anniversary of the day we lost him as a tribute.

“The bands will appeal to anyone one enjoys live rock music and we’re laying down a challenge to true rock enthusiasts to support us for the full nine hours. There’s a bar and diner at the hall to help fuel those brave enough to attempt it.”

Ronnie Patchett, from Ferryhill, worked for the Coal Board for many years and died from bowel cancer aged just 54. He was diagnosed in November 2009 and was given the opportunity to trial a new drug at the Sir Bobby Robson Cancer Trials Research Centre.

As well as being a great fan of live music Ronnie also enjoyed spending time outdoors and was very active in his local community, becoming a school governor as well as a Councillor for Ferryhill and later for the Borough of Sedgefield.

Ronnie’s wife of 34 years, Sue, and daughter Amy will be attending the Monsters of Rock, while son Marc will be taking an active role in proceedings by opening the event with his band Guards of Eden.

Sue is looking forward to the event and believes it will be an emotional occasion for everyone who knew Ronnie.

Sue says: “It’s very hard for us all without Ronnie. He had two young granddaughters and we’d just started taking long haul holidays and visited India, China and Brazil. It was like the next part of his life had begun and Russ had even inspired him to learn to play guitar.

“He’d just begun to spread his wings and when we had the cancer diagnosis it was a terrible blow. It was too late to try standard cancer treatment so we leapt at the chance to try a new drug through the Sir Bobby Robson Centre.

“He was only 54 when he died but he packed an awful lot into those 54 years. He was full of life and an inspiration to his family.

“When Russ explained what he wanted to do to raise money for the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation I thought it was a very appropriate way to remember Ronnie.

“He received excellent care at the Sir Bobby Centre and found the staff there really supportive.

“The Monsters of Rock event will be a great occasion for rock music fans and I know Ronnie would’ve loved it.”

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 Robson 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.

The Sir Bobby Robson Foundation funds projects within the Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which directly benefit cancer patients from across the north east and Cumbria and contribute significantly into wider research into the disease.

It has equipped the Sir Bobby Robson Cancer Trials Research Centre and funded a specialist clinical research nurse and research doctor within it.

Most recently the Foundation made a record contribution of £625,000 to fund an ultra-compact ABT Molecular Imaging Biomarker Generator, which is only the second of its type in the world and the first in Europe. The Biomarker Generator uses radioactive tracers to help with the diagnosis and treatment of cancer and will be installed and ready to treat patients by the summer.

Monsters of Rock is taking place on Saturday 25th February at Shildon Civic Hall and will include a raffle and auction. It will feature The Force, Black Rose, Sabbatica, The Russ Tippins Electric Band, The Last Fakers, The Karma Heart, Presence, Big River, Guards of Eden and The Silence.

Doors open 2.30pm and close at 12.30am. Tickets cost £10 and are available in advance from the venue and online at