Thursday, 31 May 2012


With Euro 2012 and the Olympics coming up, this summer offers a feast of football for spectators. 

And for football fans who want to take a more active part in the game, there are two opportunities to play and help the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation in the coming weeks.

Craig Ball, from Northumberland, and Ian Carr, from Gateshead, have both organised five-a-side football competitions in aid of the charity in June and July and jointly aim to raise funds to fight cancer while promoting the five-a-side form of the game.

Craig’s competition, The Blaydon Races 150 Tournament, is open to men’s and women’s teams and will be held at Complete Football in Gosforth, Newcastle upon Tyne, on 9th June.

Craig says: “Initially I chose the 9th June for the competition because it’s the first weekend of Euro 2012 and thought it would be a good way to ‘warm up’ for the tournament.

“I’ve just returned to the north east from working in South Korea for a few years and when someone pointed out the significance of that date I decided to get involved with the Blaydon Races 150th anniversary too. 

“We’re all looking forward to the football, raising some money for a really important cause and celebrating the Blaydon Races’ heritage too.”

Ian Carr is becoming a veteran Sir Bobby Robson Foundation fund-raiser and this is the fourth year he and his colleague Neal Eddy have organised the Robson 5s tournament held at Soccerworld, West Road Newcastle.

This years’ event is being held on 1 July and is once again open to men’s, women’s and junior teams and is being supported by players from across the region.

Ian says: “Every year we’ve had teams made up of Newcastle, Boro and Sunderland supporters, which adds to the competitive feel of the day and this time we’ve got our first Cumbrian entry with a team coming from Carlisle.

“The tournament’s always played in a great spirit and is a lot of fun but when local pride is at stake you know the teams are going to be trying their best.

“It’s important for us to feel we’re doing our bit to help the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation through the competition.  Feedback about the day, and giving five-a-side players the chance to support the Foundation, is always good and we’re hoping this year will be another special event.”

Sir Bobby and Lady Elsie launched the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation in 2008 and it has gone on to raise £4,095,264 to help find more effective treatments for cancer.

It funds projects within the Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust that directly benefit cancer patients from across the north east and Cumbria, and which contribute significantly to research into the disease.

Professor Ruth Plummer was Sir Bobby’s oncologist and is director of the Sir Bobby Robson Cancer Trials Research Centre and a trustee of the Foundation.

Commenting from the American Society of Clinical Oncology Annual Meeting (ASCO) in Chicago, USA, where she is involved in presentations about trials work being done at the Sir Bobby Robson Centre in partnership with trials units at Royal Marsden, Cambridge, Beatson Glasgow, Christie Manchester, Leeds, Oxford, and Kings London, Professor Plummer says: “Clinicians like myself who work directly with patients see the benefits of the Foundation first hand and on a daily basis. 

“It’s making a huge difference to the lives of people fighting cancer and that’s exactly what Sir Bobby hoped would happen when he set up this charity.  We’re understanding more about cancer as a disease as research progresses and this is leading to new treatments being developed, which really help patients battle this terrible disease.

“The work we’ve funded through the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation, and the work we’re looking at funding in the near future, is completely dependent on money raised through events like those being organised by Craig and Ian.

“We’re very grateful to all our fund-raisers and everyone who has made a donation to support our work.”

Further information about The Blaydon Races 150 Tournament on 9th June can be found at, while information about the Robson 5s can be found at

Thursday, 17 May 2012


If there was a finer day to unveil a statue of Sir Bobby Robson outside St James’ Park than Sunday 6th May then no one present could think of one.  That the sun was high in the sky was a mere aside – perhaps proving that it always shines on Sir Bobby and those who loved him and continue to cherish his memory.

Of more relevance and resonance, of course, was the financial milestone recently reached by the Foundation and of the club back operating at a level Sir Bobby left them – playing good football, involved in important games at the top of the league and fighting for European qualification.

In attendance was Newcastle United’s current manager Alan Pardew, the club’s Chairman Derek Llambias, a number of Sir Bobby’s former players, notable representatives of the Foundation including Professor Ruth Plummer and Patron Niall Quinn, Sir Bobby’s sons Andrew, Mark and Paul, and his widow Lady Elsie, who had the hundreds of supporters hanging on her every word. “Even from the depths of darkness, brightness can emerge” she said. “There’s only one Bobby Robson” the fans sang in reply, by way of a salute.

Engaging and thought provoking, always the Robson way, Lady Elsie thanked the club for the wonderful gesture and spoke of Bobby’s journey from Langley Park to the top European football via a spot with his father and brother on the Gallowgate end. She spoke too of the pride he had in reaching the Champions League as manager with his club and thrill that he would have found in watching this current team.

Lady Elsie talked of Bobby leading ‘a black and white life’ – one which no doubt by extension she lived herself, like many loved ones on Tyneside do – but it is Sir Bobby’s universal appeal and unending charm that has led to the Foundation’s fundraising recently topping £4 million in just four years.  A magnificent achievement made possible by fundraising and charitable giving from Tyneside, Teesside, Wearside, Suffolk, and from across the UK and the globe.

And so, now there he is, standing proud with a ball at his feet and a smile on his face, looking out across the city and region he loved and served, all in ear shot of one of the most beautiful sounds a Geordie football man like him can hear. A huge crowd in full voice, raw and passionate, Newcastle United score again. He’ll be in heaven.

Tuesday, 8 May 2012


There’s something in the eyes of children when they see someone famous. Like they can’t believe the person in front of them is actually real. They whisper excitedly, shuffle nervously from foot to foot, frozen almost - plucking up the courage to talk to them.

Who better then to represent the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation at the former Newcastle United manager’s old school Langley Park Primary School and effortlessly put the children at ease than two of the teams’ current stars Steve Harper and Shola Ameobi. Laid back and relaxed, patient and thoughtful, Steve and Shola gave their time in a manner Sir Bobby would have been proud of.

Having been invited to the school by The Times North East football reporter, Foundation Patron and former pupil himself George Caulkin, the players - two of three still at the club who played under Sir Bobby - were visiting the school for several reasons: to collect a large cheque on behalf of the Foundation resulting from the school’s recent fundraising efforts (currently topping £1200 for the last two events), and also to offer encouragement to the pupils in a village close to the hearts of Sir Bobby and his family.

It was here Sir Bobby grew up – and later working in the village’s pit - before Fulham FC and professional football came calling.  Appropriately enough, it was in the school yard where the stars of today and maybe tomorrow really got a chance to mix. The players joined in with an impromptu kickabout during afternoon playtime, giving even the most shy of pupils a chance to shine.

Back inside there was time for a question and answer session with Year 4 pupils where Shola shared his excitement on playing for his hometown team and Steve encouraged the children to stay in school – as he had despite offers from several clubs during his A’levels. There was also a prize giving assembly to reward the most original costumes from the latest fundraising initiative at the school – a sports themed fancy dress day. A football signed by the players was the precious prize for a winning pupil from each class in the school.

And it was definitely a day for North East unity, a chance to put club allegiances to one side for a while in favour of fundraising, as the Newcastle United players discovered they’d given a prize to a boy whose costume had been a Sunderland kit.
And what of the shy, quiet children at first frightened to approach the superstar footballers? Still tongue tied? Not a bit of it. They took their chance to ask questions, chat, play more football and even give interviews to ITV Tyne Tees News! A great, great day full of passion, pride and fundraising. Just as Bobby would have liked it.

A massive thank you to the staff at Langley Park Primary School for their hospitality and to Newcastle United, and of course to Steve and Shola. Congratulations to the fancy dress competition winners, and to all the children and their families for their fundraising efforts.

Tuesday, 1 May 2012


Alan Shearer and Sir Bobby Robson’s sons Andrew and Mark are among the golfers swinging into action at The Sir Bobby Robson Celebrity Golf Day and Dinner at Rockliffe Hall, near Darlington on Wednesday (2 May).

Sponsored by Goldchip, this is the second annual golf day in aid of the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation, the cancer charity Sir Bobby launched in 2008.

It is also being supported by current and former players and management from Middlesbrough FC, Newcastle United FC and Sunderland AFC including Dean Gordon, Craig Hignett, Neil Bausor, Alan Shearer, Steve Harper, John Beresford, Paul Kitson, Rob Lee, Steve Howey and Lee Cattermole.

Teams for The Sir Bobby Robson Celebrity Golf Day sold out well in advance and, after playing 18 holes, golfers will go on to enjoy dinner crafted by Rockliffe Hall’s Michelin-starred chef Kenny Atkinson, a very special auction and evening entertainment.

Lady Elsie says: “We’re very grateful to everyone supporting this year’s Sir Bobby Robson Celebrity Golf Day.

“Last year was a wonderful occasion and something my husband would have thoroughly enjoyed. 

“There was a lovely atmosphere and it was wonderful to have so many people coming together to help raise funds for the Foundation. 

“Rockliffe Hall are fantastic hosts and I’m very much looking forward to this year’s event.”

Sir Bobby and Lady Elsie launched the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation in 2008 and it has gone on to raise £4,095,264 to help find more effective treatments for cancer.

It funds projects within the Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust that directly benefit cancer patients from across the north east and Cumbria, and which contribute significantly to research into the disease.

The 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.

Sunderland AFC legend Niall Quinn was at Rockliffe Hall for the first Sir Bobby Robson Celebrity Golf Day last year. 

Sadly, despite his best efforts, he is unable to attend this time and says: "The inaugural Sir Bobby Robson golf tournament last year proved to be a fantastic day.  I played at Rockliffe along with many others and it was great to see all the clubs of the region represented there.

"I get the feeling Sir Bobby would have loved that.  Not just because it illustrated his standing in the game, but because his charity is raising funds which are used to combat cancer across the north east and Cumbria.  As Sir Bobby used to say, cancer takes no account of who you are or which team you support.

"I'm very sad that I can't make it to the event this year.  The Foundation remains very close to my heart and I wish good luck to everybody who does take part. I'm sure it'll be another fantastic occasion."