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.