Tuesday, 27 March 2012


A regional institution aims to hit the back of the net with a long-term scheme to help the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation.

Newcastle Building Society (NBS) has launched the special Sir Bobby Robson Foundation ISA, which will give an additional cash donation, for every pound invested by customers, to the charity.

The company, with more branches in the North East than any other building society, has unveiled this partnership to mark the Foundation’s fourth anniversary.

Not only is the product a ‘Best Buy’ in the marketplace, it is also the first of its type and is the Foundation’s first financial product partnership, which Sir Bobby’s widow, Lady Elsie Robson, is delighted about: “It was a great pleasure to help launch this new account and we’re grateful to the Newcastle for thinking of the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation.

“It’s a very creative way of helping the charity and we will ensure every penny donated is spent wisely.

“We’ve just celebrated the Foundation’s fourth anniversary and receiving support from an organisation with a heritage like the Newcastle Building Society is a marvellous present. My husband would have been as proud as punch with this fitting gesture.”

Jim Willens, NBS’ Chief Executive, said: “Before launching the account, customer research was undertaken, which indicated that they would like us to support charities linked to health and old age. As such, the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation is a great fit with the Society as it is a cancer research charity, which raises money to fund the early detection and treatment of cancer.

“In addition, whilst having a strong presence nationally, the charity also has a focus on the same heartland (North East and Cumbria) as the Society.

"As a regional organisation, the support we provide to the communities in which we operate is a crucial element to our business strategy. Our product allows people to save tax-free while helping a good cause. We’re really looking forward to the support we aim to bring to the Foundation as a result of this partnership, which we hope will be a long-term fixture.”

For more information, please visit http://www.newcastle.co.uk/savings/cash-isa.aspx

Sunday, 25 March 2012


Today (Sunday 25th March) not only marks the fourth anniversary of the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation, it is also the day the charity is announcing it has broken through the £4 million fund-raising barrier.

It is a spectacular achievement for the charity Sir Bobby and Lady Elsie launched in 2008 to raise an initial target of £500,000. That money was required to equip a cancer trials research centre at the Northern Centre for Cancer Care at Newcastle’s Freeman Hospital and, incredibly, was achieved in just seven weeks.

Thanks to wonderful ongoing support the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation has now raised £4,095,264 to find more effective treatments for cancer and is contributing significantly to the coordinated, international research into the disease.

Professor Ruth Plummer, Sir Bobby’s oncologist and director of the Sir Bobby Robson Cancer Trials Research Centre, sees the benefits of the work funded through the Foundation every day.

It was Professor Plummer’s request for help which prompted Sir Bobby and Lady Elsie to set up the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation and she believes its ongoing success is the greatest tribute that could ever be paid to him.

Professor Plummer says: “Sir Bobby was absolutely committed to this charity. He said he’d give up a year to help us but he actually remained passionately involved for the last 18 months of his life despite being extremely ill.

“The way people continue to help us is amazing. It’s an incredible and very worthy tribute to Sir Bobby and an acknowledgment of just how many people are affected by cancer one way or another.

“Four years ago we had no idea what we could achieve through this charity. It’s amazing to look back on what has already been funded and see the difference it is making to people with cancer.

“Looking to the future, we’re currently exploring a number of exciting possibilities which will enhance the services and equipment we’ve already invested in. We’re just so grateful that the support for the charity allows us to have this long term view.”

Fittingly, staff from House of Fraser at the MetroCentre have organised a celebration ball at the Copthorne Hotel tonight. Coinciding with the Foundation’s anniversary, and at the same venue where Sir Bobby launched the charity, it is sure to be a moving occasion.

Helen Jennings, from Denton Burn, says: “Staff at House of Fraser voted to raise money for the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation this year and this ball is just one of the events and activities we’re undertaking.

“Most of our staff have been directly or indirectly affected by cancer so this charity was a very popular choice. Sadly in my department alone we’ve lost two colleagues to the disease and you want to feel like you’re doing something to help.

“We’re not finished yet and have raised around £2,000 already. Everyone across the whole store is pitching in.

“Holding our celebration ball on the fourth anniversary of the Foundation makes it even more special and we’re very grateful to everyone who has supported the event with prizes and bought tickets. We hope Sir Bobby would be pleased we’re supporting the work of his charity four years after he began it.”

The Sir Bobby Robson Foundation funds projects within the Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust that 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 at the Northern Centre for Cancer Care in Newcastle – and which contribute significantly to the international fight against the disease.

Since its launch, the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation has equipped the Sir Bobby Robson Cancer Trials Research Centre and funded a specialist clinical research nurse and research doctor within it.

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.

There has been a year on year increase in the number of clinical trials open, currently 93, and staffing in the Centre has risen from 27 when it opened in 2009 to 40 today. Further developments are planned which will involve still further expansion of the team.

Newcastle’s Experimental Medicine Cancer Centre (ECMC), which includes the Sir Bobby Robson Cancer Trials Research Centre, was recently identified as one of highest scoring ECMCs in the UK, placed in the top tier alongside other centres at UCL, Royal Marsden, Oxford and Cambridge.

Thanks to fantastic ongoing support, the Foundation has also funded leukaemia laboratory research equipment and contributed to the Royal Victoria Infirmary’s teenage cancer unit in Newcastle.

It has enhanced a specialist 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.

The charity is also working with Newcastle University and has purchased an ultra-compact ABT Molecular Imaging Biomarker Generator, which will help with the diagnosis and treatment of cancer.

The Biomarker Generator was purchased through a record contribution of £625,000 from the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation and is only the second of its type in the world and the first in Europe. It is expected to go into operation this summer (2012).

The Sir Bobby Robson Foundation’s medical trustees are always looking for the next breakthrough, the next promising investment into cancer equipment or training and always looking to fulfil Sir Bobby’s ambition to help other people facing the hard fight against cancer.

It is supported in that aim by committed Patrons including Alan Shearer, Niall Quinn, Steve Gibson, Delia Smith and Mick Mills.

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Tom Chaplin blog: Sir Bobby Robson boat naming

There are times when things just fit, they work out perfectly, a synergy falls neatly into place. Yesterday (4th March 2012) really was one of those days.

On the brightest of North East spring afternoons on the River Tyne, with regeneration appropriately sprouting all around and camera crews and news reporters jostling for position on the quayside, the name Sir Bobby Robson and the work of the Foundation, was the centre of attention.

The Port of Tyne launched a new dredging vessel – “Sir Bobby Robson” - in front of officials, invited guests and competition winners. Blessed and officially named by Sir Bobby’s widow Lady Elsie Robson, the event was a real family affair as her son Andrew addressed guests and detailed the latest work of the Foundation.

But the perfect fit doesn’t end there. There was the cheque Port of Tyne kindly presented to the Foundation, a donation that will go a long way to continuing its important work in cancer research. There was the sight of civic gold as both North and South Tyneside’s Mayors were represented. And there was also thirteen year old Ben Nicholson, the harbourmaster’s son, who had won the Port’s competition to name the vessel.

Proof, if any were required, that Sir Bobby’s name and his place in North East hearts - black and white, red and white or otherwise - lives on.

And finally¸ there was the connection between Sir Bobby and the boat itself. For while many folk may have baulked at a plain old dredger being named after them, Lady Elsie was sure Sir Bobby would have been thrilled to have his name on the side of this one. A working boat with real purpose and a planned service of fifty years – much like Bobby’s dedication to football – the “Sir Bobby Robson” will work tirelessly for the benefit of others – much like Sir Bobby’s efforts with his Foundation.

That’s synergy for you. A perfect fit and a perfect day.

Special thanks must go to our generous hosts the Port of Tyne and The Customs House.