Wednesday, 26 September 2012


So, yes it’s true, at various points during the course I did get overtaken by a Dalek, a gingerbread man and a giant Tweety Pie. There are however a number of reasons for me to be happy with the Great North Run of 2012.  

First of all, I finished! And, may I add, in a time quicker than last year. Today, I can just about walk and who knows tomorrow I might be able to tie my own shoelaces. And my son and I have managed to put a little money into the pot from our fundraising and running efforts.

There are though many, many more reasons to be cheerful. Like for example the hundred plus runners who donned Sir Bobby Robson Foundation vests to compete in this year’s race in aid of the charity. With thousands of pounds going towards the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation’s aims and objectives it really was a day to remember. Everyone at the Foundation would like to thank you very much for your efforts – both on the day and via your fundraising. Your blood, sweat and tears ensure that the Foundation’s vital work continues.

Worthy of special mention is 'Tony the fridge' who ran the Great North Run course not once but THIRTY consecutive times with a six stone fridge on his back, culminating in Sunday’s run where he finished in good time, brought the Foundation to the attention of millions watching the race on television and had over £500 pounds in donations deposited in the fridge in just a few hours. Having fundraised every step of the way for the last month, Tony has now raised in excess of £10,000 for the Foundation, which is a superb effort.

Everyone at the Foundation would like to congratulate Tony on his extraordinary achievement and thank him for his amazing fundraising. We hope Tony is now taking a well-earned rest!

Thanks too should also go to all the volunteers who made the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation’s stand in the charity tent such a welcoming place for the runners after the race. The hot tea and chocolate bars were greatly appreciated. The atmosphere as always was superb and the opportunity to meet other Foundation fundraisers only added to the day.

And so to next year. Do you fancy taking on the challenge of the Great North Run in the colours of the Foundation? Yes? Why not run with me. Dalek overtaking guaranteed!

Wednesday, 19 September 2012


Ultra runner and charity fund-raiser Run Geordie Run, otherwise known as Mark Allison from Newcastle, has chosen to raise funds for the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation by running across Australia next year.

His challenge, which will also raise funds for The Children’s Foundation, will begin in Perth on 16th October and end in Sydney, on Christmas Eve, some 70 days later.  The 2,600 miles covers some incredibly harsh running conditions and will test Mark to the limit.

Lady Elsie says: “We’re very pleased Mark has chosen to raise funds in aid of the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation with his run across Australia.

“Mark’s raised a huge amount of money for charity over the years and has already supported our Foundation.  He was kind enough to give a motivational speech to our Great North Runners last year and is helping Robbie Elliott with his Bike For Bobby challenge.

“He’s set himself a very great challenge with this run but we have every faith in his abilities and know how committed he is.  Unfortunately he’s someone who knows the pain of losing loved ones to cancer and we know how determined he is to succeed.

“We look forward to getting more involved and finding out more about Australia as the months go on.”

You can follow Mark’s progress via his blog or via twitter @rungeordierun.

Saturday, 15 September 2012


Tony ‘The Fridge’ Phoenix-Morrison from Hebburn, will complete his challenge of running 30 consecutive half marathons carrying a fridge tomorrow (Sunday 16 September) at the Great North Run.

He is raising money for the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation and family, friends and supporters came together today to give him a rousing send off as he crossed the finish line for the 29th time.

The Geordie Chapter of the Harley Davidson Club and Tony’s under 14s football team also joined Tony for the last mile of the run – creating a great spectacle in the sunshine along the font at South Shields.

The team making arrangements for tomorrow’s event have supported Tony every day and opened the famous Great North Run finish line especially for him and cheered him across.

Tony says: “I feel really honoured by all the wonderful support today and every day.  Everybody coming together like this and celebrating what we’ve achieved is just fantastic.

“The success of the fund-raising really is testament to how much Sir Bobby was loved and, sadly, because so many people are affected by cancer.  I’ve heard all kinds of really touching stories from people as I’ve been running and I’ve been in tears some days.

“It’s been an honour to carry out this challenge.  I worked really hard to prepare for is and I’ve got stronger as it’s gone on. 

“I’ve got the run itself tomorrow but it’ll probably be the Great North Walk because I’ll be stopping to say hello to people on the way.  I’m just going to take my time and enjoy it.

“I am a little bit broken but I won’t take long to repair.  I stopped drinking for this challenge and I’ve never wanted a pint of lager more in my life.”

Tony has been supported every day by his wife Janita who drove him to the start line, mets him half way with hot tea, energy snacks and a change of clothes and then collected him at the finish line in South Shields.

In addition, Tony’s colleague Matt Norcliffe from Pelaw cycled behind him each day to provide support en route.

While Tony’s last fridge run will be the Great North Run, he is also planning to run the route the following day without the white goods “just for fun and dressed like the legend that is Brendan Foster.”

You can also follow Tony’s progress via Twitter @tony_the_fridge.  To support him and donate to the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation please visit

Wednesday, 12 September 2012


Today (Wednesday 12th September) Lady Elsie Robson officially opened the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation PET Tracer Production Unit at Newcastle University.

The cutting-edge facility will make a significant difference to people fighting cancer in the north east and Cumbria as well as international efforts to find more effective treatments for the disease.

The unit, and the new equipment it houses, an Advanced Biomarker Technology ultra-compact cyclotron, was jointly funded by the University and the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation and is the first of its type in Europe and only the second in the world. 

It will help with the diagnosis and treatment of cancer and other serious diseases and its purchase was only possible thanks to a contribution of £625,000, the largest to date, from the cancer charity Sir Bobby and Lady Elsie launched in 2008.

Lady Elsie says: “I’m so pleased to see this new unit open and we’re all very proud that the University chose to name it after the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation.

“We’ve been discussing this new equipment for such a long time and because it’s so special it’s taken a great deal of effort to purchase and install it.

“To see all those discussions finally become a reality is just wonderful.  I’m very grateful to the Foundation’s medical trustees and Newcastle University for their hard work in making this possible.

“I’d particularly like to thank the many thousands of people who support the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation through fund-raising events and by giving donations large and small.  Their great kindness and generosity is the only reason we have been able to buy the Biomarker Generator. 

“It’s truly humbling to think how much time and effort has gone into raising the £625,000 needed for this new equipment and I hope that everyone who has supported the charity in any way shares my feelings of pride and achievement today.”

The Biomarker Generator works by creating radioactive tracers which are given to patients who subsequently undergo scans to provide information on cancer and other diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. The information collected helps doctors to understand the location of the disease in each patient, how serious it is, and the underlying processes and pathways that are causing the illness.

Professor Herbie Newell, Professor of Cancer Therapeutics at Newcastle University, explains: “Today’s official opening of the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation PET Tracer Production Unit is a very significant occasion for cancer research and cancer patients.

“Thanks to the funding received through the charity, we are now able to use a whole new screening technology to help us find out where cancers are in patients, how many there are and what they are.

“In CT and X-rays, the radiation comes from outside the patient, passing through the patient, and we take pictures of what comes out the other side.

“But in PET scanning, and what we’ll be able to do now with this new unit, we make the radioactivity and attach it to something called a tracer, which is injected into the patient so the radiation comes from the inside out.

“The first tracer we’re making will be one where we’ll attach the radioactivity to a sugar, which is taken up into the cancer because, like any other cells, cancer cells need energy to grow.  By taking an image of the patient after we’ve given them the tracer we’ll be able to pinpoint exactly where the cancers are.

“PET scanning will be particularly beneficial for patients on clinical trials of new drugs and we’ll be working closely with the team at the Sir Bobby Robson Cancer Trials Research Centre at the Northern Centre for Cancer Care.  We’ll be able to establish much quicker than currently possible whether new drug treatments are working, and whether they are working in the way intended.  It’s going to make a big difference.

“This new generation of biomarker generators is cutting edge and we’re extremely grateful to everyone who has helped make its purchase possible by supporting the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation.”

The Biomarker Generator is being tested to ensure it meets international clinical standards and will begin to be used for patients within the year.

Lady Elsie adds: “When my husband and I began the Foundation we had high hopes for what could be achieved and I know Bob would be absolutely thrilled to see this new high tech unit. 

“This is what he wanted for his charity, to make a real difference for other people unlucky enough to find they have cancer.  It is a truly awful disease but today I feel the scientists, doctors and everyone who has helped the Foundation, have together made a very positive step forward in the fight against cancer.”