Friday, 27 December 2013

RUN GEORDIE RUN UPDATE

Mark Allison, Run Geordie Run, is now continuing with his run across Australia to raise funds for the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation and The Children’s Foundation.

This was not planned and something Mark announced overnight via this Soundcloud link on Twitter – http://soundcloud.com/rungeordierun/it-aint-over-until-its-over#c=0&t=1%3A55.

Yesterday (27 December), Mark decided to stop the run on safety grounds as he was unable to reach Bondi Beach, Sydney, within the time available to him without running along a motorway in the dark.

It was an extremely difficult decision for him to take.  However, he woke up to many messages of support and the stark reality that his challenge was over.  He has therefore decided to continue but change the end point for the run. 

All being well, he will now finish at the coastal town of Shellharbour on 3 January.  The new end point will save around 40 miles off the previous route but, importantly, Mark will still have run across Australia – coast to coast.

He is still working out the finer details of the new route but it will require him to run around 140 miles - 90 on motorway (not in the dark) and 50 on safer roads.  

It also involves him running up Macquarrie Pass, which is very steep and contains a large number of hairpin bends (buses and trucks need to reverse to get around some of these).  After this point, it will be 15 miles to the finish line.

Mark is sorry for any worry and inconvenience caused by his decision yesterday.  As we're sure everyone appreciates, he is mentally and physically exhausted by this run, which has been so much harder than he anticipated.

He is more determined than ever to complete this challenge despite the problems with his feet, which have become numb.  He will rest his feet in the hope of restoring some feeling in them and begin running again on 1 January.

We're sorry for confusion caused by our announcement yesterday and thank you for the wonderful support given to Mark during this incredibly difficult challenge.


RUN GEORDIE RUN FORCED TO STOP

Mark Allison has run 2,267 miles and taken everything Australia could throw at him to raise money for the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation and The Children’s Foundation.  It has been far harder than he could possibly have anticipated and now, sadly, he has been forced to stop the challenge on safety grounds.

He set off 73 days ago from Perth to run across the continent and had hoped to end the challenge at Bondi Beach, Sydney, 180 miles away from his current position in Yass.

The run is in partnership with the North East’s largest Motor Group, Benfield, and he has raised over £37,000.  Unfortunately, Mark has run out of time to safely complete the challenge and both charities firmly support his decision to stop now.

Mark, from Blyth, Northumberland, explains: “I’ve just got too much left to do.  I’ve reached the motorway section of the run, which was always going to be a potentially dangerous bit.  But, because I’ve run low on time, I’d need to be running at least two hours a day in darkness and without a support vehicle.

“This isn’t a decision I’ve taken lightly.  But ultimately I can’t put myself at that kind of risk.  I hope everyone who has supported me will understand my decision.  I just think this is the run which isn’t meant to be.

“Really I should have stopped at the beginning of November when I was struggling in the extreme heat of the Nullabor and when my feet were pretty much destroyed.  I’ve never known pain like it and I’m proud that I wasn’t defeated then.

“My feet are pretty much numb now, which is another concern.  I don’t know what I’m running on because I can’t feel it.  I know in myself, it’s time to stop.

"I've ran through intense heat and the weather for the remainder of my time in Australia is going to be a lot cooler. That's frustrating.

“This is really a tough decision to take.  I’m proud of what I’ve achieved and I hope everyone who has donated to the two charities knows I’ve given this challenge absolutely everything I have.  This one was just not meant to be.

"In my opinion, what I've achieved in Australia this year eclipses my achievement in the USA in 2011.”

Sadly, Mark lost both his parents to cancer when he was a young man and he has spent 20 years raising funds for good causes in the North East of England.
Running around 40 miles a day, Mark has endured heat so intense that it was subject of an Extreme Weather Warning, relentless flies, dangerous roads and terrifying storms.

It has been an incredible journey which has taken every last ounce of his mental and physical strength.

Sir Bobby’s son, Mark Robson says: “We’re 100 per cent behind Mark’s decision to stop the run now.

“We’ve said to him all though this challenge that his safety, and that of his support team, is of primary importance.

“This run has been so much harder than he could possibly have anticipated.  I’ve been thinking about what he’s been going through every day.  We think he’s super human and we’re extremely proud that he has been putting himself through this to help raise funds for the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation.”

Libby Nolan, Fundraising Manager for The Children’s Foundation, says:  “We couldn’t be more thrilled with Mark’s incredible efforts.  He is an astounding individual with determination unlike most other human beings.

“We are so proud of him.  Yet again, he’s pushed himself to the limit and raised an incredible amount of money for two North Eastern charities.”

For more information about Run Geordie Run Down Under with Benfield please visit www.rungeordierun.com and follow Mark’s progress on Twitter @RunGeordieRun.

If you would like to donate to the two charities, please visit www.virginmoneygiving.com/rungeordierun.

Sunday, 22 December 2013

PAUL COMPLETES A VERY LONG RUN, ON THE SHORTEST DAY

It took 11 hours and 23 minutes, but on Saturday (21st December), Paul Smith from Sherburn Hill, Durham, ran for an amazing 61 miles to raise money for two local charities.

It is the furthest Paul has ever run and he undertook the challenge, on the shortest day of the year, in aid of the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation and The Finlay Cooper Fund.

The 50-year-old has run every single day since 1st January 2007, what is termed a ‘running streak,’ and was keen to try something new.  He came up with the idea of running between the region’s football clubs and began his run at midnight at St James’ Park Newcastle.

He then headed to the Stadium of Light, Sunderland, Victoria Park, Hartlepool and then to Middlesbrough’s Riverside Stadium before heading back to Victoria Park.  He arrived in time to watch his beloved Hartlepool United take on Burton Albion and enjoyed a well-deserved lap of honour round the pitch.

His run through the bleak December weather has raised over £3,000 for the two charities and Paul was supported throughout the run by friends and family.

Speaking at the finish, Paul said: “That was very tough.  But then that’s what challenges are supposed to be.

“I’m feeling a real mixture of emotions.  I’m elated, relieved, proud, honoured and humbled by the fantastic support I’ve received.

“For me, it was just running, albeit running a very long way.  It’s the fundraising for two worthy causes that really counts.  The work the two charities fund is what matters and I’m proud to have been able to help.

“Thanks to everyone who has donated.  And, if you haven’t had a chance to yet and would like to, you can still donate online.”

Hartlepool manager, Colin Cooper, and his wife, Julie, formed The Finlay Cooper Fund in August 2006.  They lost their son Finlay in January 2002 in a tragic choking accident and wanted to do something positive in his name. 

Donations have been given through the charity to a large number of local children’s causes including hospices, a diabetes trust and a cancer ward. 

Colin Cooper said: “This is such an amazing effort from Paul I would encourage as many people as possible to donate if they possibly can.

“It’s a unique charity challenge and I know it means a lot to Paul to raise as much as he can for the two causes so every small donation will help spur him on.”

Sir Bobby and Lady Elsie launched the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation in 2008 to help find more effective ways to detect and treat cancer – including the clinical trials of new drugs.

Lady Elsie said: “My sons and I were lucky enough to meet up with Paul before his challenge and we were all impressed by his commitment and enthusiasm.

“To have run as far as 61 miles is incredible, especially in the cold December weather and through the night.

“On behalf of the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation, I’d like to thank Paul for his tremendous efforts and also thank everyone who has been kind enough to sponsor him.

“The money raised will help people across the North East and Cumbria facing cancer.”

This year, thanks to tremendous ongoing support, the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation has been able to fund an Imaging Flow Cytometer for £438,000, which allows scientists to see cancer cells that may be circulating in a patient’s blood. 

It has also part-funded the complementary therapy programme, which provides relief from the symptoms of cancer and its treatment for patients at the Northern Centre for Cancer Care and jointly funded a cancer patient ambulance.

Early next year, thanks to the Foundation’s largest funding contribution to date, £850,000, the latest generation in stereotactic radiotherapy surgery will become available to cancer patients from across the North East and Cumbria.  It will be used to treat tumours which are currently inoperable and delivers extremely high doses of radiation with pin-point accuracy.

To sponsor Paul, please visit www.virginmoneygiving.com/LordSmythe1908.

Friday, 20 December 2013

FUNDING FOR NEW CANCER SUPPORT SPECIALIST FOR MAGGIE’S NEWCASTLE

Rounding off a hugely positive year, the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation will announce today (Friday 20 December) that it is working with Maggie’s Newcastle to provide even greater support for people facing cancer in the North East and Cumbria.

The Foundation is helping fund a Cancer Support Specialist who will play a key role within the Maggie’s Centre, which is just outside the Northern Centre for Cancer Care at the Freeman Hospital.

Maggie’s Newcastle opened in May this year to provide support for people living with cancer, and their friends and families, who are facing tough decisions and exhausting treatment.

It is somewhere to find practical advice about financial help and eating well, to receive emotional support, meet other people or simply to sit quietly with a cup of tea.

In recognition of the contribution from the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation, the new Maggie’s support post is called the Sir Bobby Robson Cancer Support Specialist and the position has been filled by 41-year-old Joanne Tortoise, from Ponteland.

Joanne is looking forward to beginning her new role in January and will work closely with NHS staff at the Northern Centre for Cancer Care, which includes the Sir Bobby Robson Cancer Trials Research Centre.

She says: “I really can’t wait to get started at Maggie’s.  I’ve known about the work they do for quite a while and I know they offer incredibly important support to people with cancer as well as their friends and families.

“I’m really excited to be part of the expert team offering support at Newcastle.  I visited the Centre the other day and I just couldn’t wait to get started.”

The Sir Bobby Robson Foundation has now raised over £5.8million (this is a new fundraising total – previously over £5.2million) to find more effective ways to detect and treat cancer.

As well as helping to fund groundbreaking new technology and the clinical trials of new drugs, the charity also funds projects that enhance cancer patient care.

This year it has, once again, part-funded the complementary therapy programme which provides patients at the Northern Centre for Cancer Care with relief from the symptoms of cancer and its treatment.  It has also funded a Daft as a Brush ambulance to transport patients from across the region to receive treatment in Newcastle.

Lady Elsie says: “We were approached by Maggie’s about funding a Cancer Support Specialist before the Centre in Newcastle was even completed.

“I visited Maggie’s in London and was very impressed at the marvellous support it offered people with cancer.

“Funding this role was something all the Foundation’s trustees felt would be of great benefit to patients in this region and meeting Joanne and some of the people visiting Maggie’s today has really underlined that for me.

“Being able to announce funding for this new support role today ends this year on a very positive note.  We’d like to thank all the wonderful fundraisers and everyone who has contributed to the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation for helping make it happen.”

In her new role, Joanne will be responsible for giving reliable and accurate information and support about any aspect of living with cancer (treatment, side-effects, emotional issues, family relationships) according to individual needs as well as facilitating timetabled workshops and courses such as the Getting Started with Cancer Treatment and Talking Heads (for people facing hair loss and other changes associated with treatment) workshops.

Maggie’s Newcastle Centre Head, Karen Verrill, says: “This is an amazing and generous contribution to the Maggie’s Newcastle team from the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation.

“It is incredible that a big charity like the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation has provided a cancer support specialist for Maggie’s Newcastle and Joanne Tortoise is a very welcome addition to our staff.

“Since we have opened we have been very busy here with visitors to the Centre and having a cancer support specialist will make a big difference to what we can offer the people coming to the Centre looking for support.

“Having Joanne is going to me and having worked with Joanne before I have experience of the way she has provided support for people with cancer in the past and I know she will be invaluable at Maggie’s.”

With Maggie’s Aberdeen opening in September, there are now 17 fully operational Maggie’s Centres, the first being built in Edinburgh in 1996 from plans drawn up by Maggie Keswick Jencks before she died from cancer in 1995.

Maggie Keswick Jencks lived with advanced cancer for two years and during that time she used her knowledge and experience to create a blueprint for a new type of care.  Care based around places that let people feel in control and not part of a production line; care that recognises the importance of comforting spaces when people are feeling vulnerable; and care that never allows people to, as she put it, “lose the joy of living in the fear of dying”.

The unique programme of support available through Maggie’s has been developed by Maggie’s Professional Advisory Board, which includes top academics and oncologists, and includes drop-in with cancer support specialists, nutrition workshops, Tai Chi, stress management, relaxation and one-to-one sessions with clinical psychologists.

Sir Bobby and Lady Elsie launched the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation in 2008 to help find more effective ways to detect and treat cancer – including the clinical trials of new drugs.

To make a donation, view messages of support, or for more information please visit www.sirbobbyrobsonfoundation.org.uk or donate by sending a cheque to Sir Bobby Robson Foundation, Room 203, Cheviot Court, Freeman Hospital, Newcastle upon Tyne NE7 7DN.

Katy Vasey, 54, Blyth:

Katy Vasey believes the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation providing a new cancer support specialist for Maggie’s Newcastle is just “wonderful”.

She has been visiting Maggie’s Newcastle for the last six months after moving back to Northumberland while coping with a breast cancer diagnosis, a place she says has been her refuge.

She says: “It really is wonderful that Sir Bobby Robson Foundation is working with Maggie’s in this way.

“It shows they believe in the support Maggie’s offer and for such a high profile organisation to join Maggie’s like this will really help boost awareness of the tremendous support Maggie’s offer.

“I was told about Maggie’s by a cancer nurse.

“She told me it was about empowerment and ever since I first visited it really has become my refuge.

“Some days I am here for four to five hours, at other times an hour is all I need.

“I come in and chat to people round the kitchen table with a cup of tea or join the Tai Chi class or take part in the nutrition workshop.

“It is just a fabulous place to be, somewhere I never feel pressurised and somewhere which feels completely different to a hospital.

“It is wonderful that the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation has recognised this and I know having another member of staff will make a big difference.”

Robert Fairbairn, 75, Newcastle

While coping with a prostate cancer diagnosis on top of other medical conditions Robert has found Maggie’s Newcastle a huge support in the last few weeks.

And he is delighted that the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation are working with Maggie’s to enable  Joanne Tortoise, Maggie’s new cancer support specialist, to join Maggie’s expert staff in January.

Robert says: “It is just brilliant that the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation have provided funding for Maggie’s to have a new cancer support specialist.

“I come to Maggie’s to do the yoga and the Tai Chi because I feel I have lost a lot of my personal fitness recently through ill health, but I also come to speak to people.

“I get great support at Maggie’s and I know having a new member of staff to talk to will certainly be nice at the very least.”

Monday, 16 December 2013

LADY ELSIE BECOMES CLUB PRESIDENT OF TOW LAW TOWN

County Durham’s Tow Law Town AFC, credits Sir Bobby Robson for helping save the club during one of its darkest hours. Members have never forgotten Sir Bobby’s efforts on their behalf and have responded by raising an amazing £4,100 for the football legend’s cancer charity.

In 2001, Tow Law Town was struggling financially as the foot and mouth crisis impacted on supporter numbers and gate receipts.

Club stalwart, Charlie Donaghy, invited Sir Bobby, then Newcastle United manager, to a fundraising talk-in at the Ironworks Road ground to raise much needed funds and he immediately agreed. 

It was a memorable night, repeated two years later, and the money raised helped keep Tow Law Town afloat during difficult times.

Sir Bobby enjoyed his association with the club greatly and was honoured to accept the title of Tow Law Town vice president.

Charlie Donaghy, who was recently awarded the Northern Echo’s Local Hero award for his contribution to grassroots sport, says: “I first met Sir Bobby when he officially opened The Northern League Club at Tow Law.  We looked after him well that day and he promised me he’d help us if ever we needed it.

“And Sir Bobby really did help save this club. We were in terrible straits and the money raised from his talk in made a tremendous difference.

“He stayed all night. In fact, he stayed so late Lady Elsie rang up to check with his Newcastle United colleague Charlie Woods to see how the night was going. It was wonderful and I think he enjoyed it as much as we did. We’ve always been grateful for his help.”

On 10 August this year, The FA organised the Sir Bobby Robson National Football Day in celebration of the nation’s favourite game and one of English football’s most iconic figures.
It was part of The FA’s 150th anniversary celebrations and, on the day, 150 events took place across the country - providing a showcase of The FA’s work at grassroots level.

One of those 150 FA events was the first match of the new season in the Northern League Division Two at Tow Law Town and the club took the opportunity to raise money for the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation in the process.

Junior members held a halftime penalty competition and the club organised a raffle, while Charlie was sponsored more than £3,000 by grassroots sports clubs and leagues around the County for doing a sponsored walk around the pitch.

Charlie, who donated his £500 Northern Echo Local Hero prize to the Foundation, adds: “Raising this money has been a tremendous team effort by Tow Law Town and the local community. Everybody has been so generous.

“I have mobility problems so walking around the pitch was very difficult. I thought I’d try for three laps but also thought that would have me on my knees.

“I was privileged to carry the Olympic Torch last year so I wore my special tracksuit for luck and to inspire me. It must have done the job because I managed all three laps and was very proud to have done it.”

On Friday night (13 December), Lady Elsie visited Tow Law AFC to receive the cheque on behalf of the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation and to thank Charlie and club members.

Speakers on the night included George Courtney, former World Cup referee, Mike Amos, Northern League chairman and George Caulkin, North East football reporter for The Times and a Patron of the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation.

More funds were raised for the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation through an auction and stand-up bingo competition – with Lady Elsie calling the numbers.

At the end of the night, Lady Elsie was pleasantly surprised when she was asked to become President of Tow Law Town AFC. She then went on to officially rename the bar at the club the Sir Bobby Robson Bar.

Lady Elsie says: “I’d like to say thank you from our hearts to Charlie and everyone at Tow Law Town for raising so much money for the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation.  We’re very grateful.

“I was honoured to be offered the chance to become President of the club and it was an honour I was proud to accept.”

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

ICONIC WORLD CUP SUIT ON PUBLIC DISPLAY FOR FIRST TIME

For the first time, one of this country’s most famous items of sporting memorabilia is on public display.

For the next few weeks, the iconic grey suit Sir Bobby Robson wore to lead England so tantalisingly close to World Cup glory at Italia ‘90 will be on show in Newcastle.


It is the first time the suit has been available for public viewing and is sure to prove a draw for football fans and anyone doing their Christmas shopping in the city centre.

The suit is on display in JG Windows, within the historic Central Arcade, to promote the sale of the Another (K)Night to Remember DVD, which is raising funds for the football legend’s cancer charity.

For generations of football fans, seeing it will evoke memories of what was a very special World Cup campaign when a squad featuring local players - Chris Waddle, Paul Gascoigne, Bryan Robson and Peter Beardsley - came so close to reaching the World Cup final. 

The heart wrenching moment when Sir Bobby watched his side go out on penalties in the semi-final against West Germany is etched into English football history.

Helen Mawson of JG Windows says: “We’re thrilled to have such a special piece of footballing history on display here.

“We were thinking of ways to promote the fact we’re selling the Another (K)Night to Remember DVD in the run up to Christmas and asked Lady Elsie for help.

“It’s extremely kind of her to lend us her husband’s suit and we hope it will attract a lot of interest in the DVD, which will then help the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation.”

Another (K)Night to Remember includes all the highlights from Sir Bobby Robson – A Celebration, a very special evening of music, memories and laughter when family, friends, musicians, comedians, football greats and admirers gathered at The Sage Gateshead to remember Sir Bobby on the night he would have turned 80.

Tickets for the event, which was supported by Virgin Money, sold out within hours  and Sir Bobby’s son Mark described it as “one of the best nights of my life.” 

Hosted by Jim Rosenthal and former Lindisfarne singer Billy Mitchell, Sir Bobby Robson – A Celebration featured an amazing line-up of performers and football greats including Mark Knopfler, England legend Stuart Pearce, Joe McElderry, Northern Sinfonia - Orchestra of The Sage Gateshead, The Unthanks, Russell Watson, Alistair McGowan, Peter Brewis of Field Music, The Cornshed Sisters, Paul Smith of Maximo Park, Ruby Turner, Faryl Smith, Scarlet Street, Ben Ottewell of Gomez, Tottenham Hotspur manager Andre Villas-Boas and Newcastle United’s Alan Pardew, Shola Ameobi  and Steve Harper.

Now, thanks to this DVD, Sir Bobby Robson – A Celebration can be enjoyed by a much wider audience and features a host of funny and moving extra interviews and from the likes of Paul Gascoigne, Bob Moncur, Alan Shearer and Lady Elsie.

Lady Elsie says: “The celebration on my husband’s birthday was a marvellous night and I’m glad I have this DVD to remind me of it.  It had a bit of everything, comedy, music and football.  The calibre of performers was breathtaking really.  Bob would have been in his element.

“The team who organised the celebration event and this DVD have worked so hard to make sure it was all done right.  They gave up their time to help free of charge, as did the people who performed, and we’re very grateful to them all.

“It’s lovely that people who were unable to attend the night itself can still enjoy it through this DVD and help the charity in the process.  Let’s hope it ends up under a lot of Christmas trees this year.”

The event was organised by a dedicated and experienced team working on a voluntary basis.  They are music promoter, Adam Collerton; award-winning director, Geoff Wonfor; football and media producer, Oliver Fowler; tour manager, Sue Collier and event producer, Ray Laidlaw, formerly of Lindisfarne.

The team received tremendous support from The Sage Gateshead, performers, guests, local businesses and the football community - including Sir Bobby’s former clubs, FIFA, UEFA and The Football Association.

Sir Bobby and Lady Elsie launched the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation in 2008 to help find more effective ways to detect and treat cancer – including the clinical trials of new drugs.

An ideal Christmas present, Another (K)Night to Remember is available via http://www.mawson-wareham.com/product.php?prodid=127 and in Windows, Newcastle, MetroCentre and Darlington priced at £16.99.  It is also available in T&G Alan, Morpeth, That’s Entertainment in Dalton Park and Royal Quays, HMV throughout the region and Gojo in Hexham. 

Saturday, 7 December 2013

NINE-HOUR ROCK CONCERT IN AID OF SIR BOBBY ROBSON FOUNDATION

What began as a one-off rock concert and charity event in Shildon Civic Hall, County Durham, is now in its third year.

Ronington, an annual nine-hour rock concert, is organised by musician Russ Tippins in memory of his friend Ronnie Patchett, from Ferryhill.

It raises money for the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation and has proved so popular that Russ and Shildon Civic Hall manager, Paul Watson, are putting the event on again in February.

Russ says: “We first put on Ronington to mark the first anniversary of losing Ronnie to cancer.  It was a great celebration of him and the music he loved.  It was such a success that we’re now organising our third.

“Ronnie loved live music and I can’t think of a better way to remember him than through a concert. 

“We’ve already raised almost £8,000 for the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation and that’s something everyone involved is very proud of.”

Not for the fainthearted, the marathon rock gig features 10 bands, beginning at 3pm and ending at midnight.  Once again, it is a mix of popular up and coming acts and well known names on the regional rock circuit and playing a raucous mix of original material and cover versions.

This year, the bands are Bon Jovi Forever, The Karma Heart, The Last Fakers, Damaged Inc (tribute to Metallica), The Russ Tippins Electric Band, The Dirty South, Blackjack, American Girl, Tin Pan Alley and The Flying V’s.

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 children Amy and Marc will all be attending Ronington III and it is always a special night for the family.

Sue says: “This concert is such a nice thing to be involved in and I know Ronnie would be blown away by the idea.  It’s been really successful over the last two years and we’ve had so many people asking us if we’re going to be doing it again.

“Russ puts in so much time to pull things together.  We try to support him as best we can but really it’s his hard work that makes the event what it is.  We’re looking forward to it.”

Sir Bobby and Lady Elsie launched the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation in 2008 to help find more effective ways to detect and treat cancer – including the clinical trials of new drugs.

This year, thanks to tremendous ongoing support, the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation has been able to fund an Imaging Flow Cytometer for £438,000, which allows scientists to see cancer cells that may be circulating in a patient’s blood. 

It has also part-funded the complementary therapy programme, which provides relief from the symptoms of cancer and its treatment for patients at the Northern Centre for Cancer Care and jointly funded a cancer patient ambulance.

Early next year, thanks to the Foundation’s largest funding contribution to date, £850,000, the latest generation in stereotactic radiotherapy surgery will become available to cancer patients from across the North East and Cumbria.  It will be used to treat tumours which are currently inoperable and delivers extremely high doses of radiation with pin-point accuracy.

Ronington III is on Saturday 22nd February at Shildon Civic Hall.  Tickets cost £10 and are available now from the venue, and online at www.ronington.co.uk.

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

A VERY LONG RUN, ON THE SHORTEST DAY


On the shortest day of the year, 21st December, Paul Smith will be attempting his longest run to raise funds for two local charities.

The 50-year-old from Sherburn Hill, Durham, has challenged himself to run 65 football-themed miles to raise money for The Finlay Cooper Fund and the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation.

He will be starting around midnight at St James’ Park, Newcastle, heading first for the Stadium of Light, Sunderland, then on to Victoria Park, Hartlepool and then to Middlesbrough’s Riverside Stadium. 

He will then run from Middlesbrough, back to Victoria Park, again, in time to watch Hartlepool United v Burton Albion.

Paul is in the middle of what is termed a ‘running streak’ and has run every day since 1st January 2007.  One of his heroes is Olympian, Ron Hill, who has not missed a day’s running since 1964.

Paul explains: “Running is just what I do.  And if I can perhaps inspire or help others along the way then that's more than an added bonus. 

“I’ve been lucky not to get seriously injured or ill but it’s as much about mind-set as anything.  It’s important to keep things fresh and I’m always thinking of new ways or reasons to run.

“I come up with all sorts of things, some daft, some more serious.  I’ve done all the region’s Park Runs in one day, I’ve run in fancy dress and on Remembrance Sunday I ran 11.1 miles to mark the occasion in my own way.”


Hartlepool manager, Colin Cooper, and his wife, Julie, formed The Finlay Cooper Fund in August 2006.  They lost their son Finlay in January 2002 in a tragic choking accident and wanted to do something positive in his name. 

Donations have been given through the charity to a large number of local children’s causes including hospices, a diabetes trust and a cancer ward. 

Colin Cooper says: “Since I came to Hartlepool I’ve heard lots about Paul and met him quite a few times.

“I know he’s been for a run every day for the last seven years which is incredible, and during that time he’s come up with themes for different dates along the way as well as challenges to keep it interesting.

“However, I think that this particular run he’s planning is epic even by his standards and I’m absolutely delighted he’s chosen to help raise funds for The Finlay Cooper Fund as well as the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation.

“It’s been a brilliant 2013 for the Finlay Cooper Fund; we’ve raised a lot of money and raised the profile of the charity so I’m thankful to Paul for helping us end the year on another high.”

Paul adds: “I’ve never run as far as 65 miles before and I knew I had to have some strong motivation to push me to up my training so decided to raise money for charity.

“I’m a huge Hartlepool fan and I really wanted to do something to help Colin Cooper raise funds for children’s charities through The Finlay Cooper Fund.

“I also picked the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation because, sadly, cancer affects us all one way or another.  And Sir Bobby’s name unites the North East and its football clubs like no other so his charity seemed an apt choice given my challenge.”

Sir Bobby and Lady Elsie launched the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation in 2008 to help find more effective ways to detect and treat cancer – including the clinical trials of new drugs.

Sir Bobby’s son, Andrew Robson, says: “The run that Paul’s undertaking really is a big ask.  When you think about people running a marathon, which is 26 miles and you think that’s such a long way, but Paul’s running 65 miles.  It’s incredible really.

“This Foundation is my father’s legacy and, thanks to people like Paul fundraising for it, it continues to go from strength to strength.

“It’s a very innovative idea to run to each of the football clubs on the same day and we wish him the very best of luck.”

This year, thanks to tremendous ongoing support, the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation has been able to fund an Imaging Flow Cytometer for £438,000, which allows scientists to see cancer cells that may be circulating in a patient’s blood. 

It has also part-funded the complementary therapy programme, which provides relief from the symptoms of cancer and its treatment for patients at the Northern Centre for Cancer Care and jointly funded a cancer patient ambulance.

Early next year, thanks to the Foundation’s largest funding contribution to date, £850,000, the latest generation in stereotactic radiotherapy surgery will become available to cancer patients from across the North East and Cumbria.  It will be used to treat tumours which are currently inoperable and delivers extremely high doses of radiation with pin-point accuracy.

To sponsor Paul, please visit www.virginmoneygiving.com/LordSmythe1908 and you can follow his progress on Twitter via @LordSmythe.

Monday, 4 November 2013

‘MY NORTH EAST’ RAISES FUNDS FOR SIR BOBBY ROBSON FOUNDATION

A new book celebrating the North East is released today (Monday 4 November), packed with personal insights and childhood reminiscences from the region’s famous sons and daughters.

‘My North East’ features contributions from 65 well-known faces from stage and screen, musical heroes and sporting legends – all proud to call the North East home – sitting alongside stunning landscape photographs by leading local photographer Graeme Peacock.

Two North East writers, Michael Hamilton and Anne Graham, interviewed stars about their memories and favourite places to produce the 200-page hardback book and all profits from it
 will be donated to the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation.

Sir Bobby’s feelings about the area are featured and Lady Elsie was pleased to provide a foreword.

Alan Shearer, a Patron of the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation, is also included and says: “I was happy to contribute to ‘My North East.’ 

“This is a very special region and that certainly comes across in the pages of this book.

“When the idea was described to me I thought it was fantastic.  Even more so when I heard Anne and Michael were pulling it all together to raise money for the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation.  It’s a very thoughtful way to raise money for the charity.

“Anyone who loves the North East will appreciate this book and I imagine for anyone far from home it will bring back some wonderful memories too.”

Amongst the big names who talk about how the region has shaped them are: Mark Knopfler, Vic Reeves, Sir Bobby Robson, Tony Blair, Sting, Robson Green, Bryan Ferry, Alan Shearer, Kevin Whately, Denise Welch, Tim Healy, Brian Johnson, Jim Montgomery, Si King, Bryan Robson, Kat Copeland, Gina McKee, the Duchess of Northumberland, Joe McElderry, Brendan Foster and Jack Charlton.

Places featured include Coquetdale, High Force, the Transporter Bridge, Alnmouth, the Tyne Bridges, Seaburn, Durham Cathedral, Bamburgh Castle, the Angel of the North, Roseberry Topping, Weardale, Craster, Teesdale and Holy Island.

Anne, a former Northern Echo reporter, says: “When I spoke to Sir Bobby in 2008 about the launch of the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation he talked passionately about what he hoped the charity would achieve in the region. He wanted to make a difference in the area where his own roots lay. It has exceeded even his dreams – and continues to do so.

“Talking to fellow North Easterners about Sir Bobby after he died, it became clear to me that they shared his fierce loyalty and deep affection for this unique part of the world.

“And that’s how the book was born. We’ve brought together for the first time in words and images what home means to many of the region’s famous sons and daughters – including Sir Bobby.”

Michael, formerly of the Newcastle Evening Chronicle and Tyne Tees TV, says: “It was a labour of love to interview some of my North East heroes like Mark Knopfler, Brian Johnson and Paul Rodgers.”

My North East is available from 4 November (RRP £20) published by Kingfisher Reach Communications.

To buy online: www.my-northeast.co.uk.

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

SIR ALEX FERGUSON BACKS SIR BOBBY'S BREAKTHROUGH AUCTION

Sir Alex Ferguson is the latest sports icon to get behind Sir Bobby’s Breakthrough Online Charity Auction aiming to raise £1million for the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation, Breakthrough Breast Cancer and Suffolk Hospitals’ cancer services.

Sir Alex’s prize will no doubt create a bidding frenzy as he enhances Lot 44, a painting of Sir Alex by renowned artist Ben Mosley, by personally inviting the successful bidder and a guest to attend the Manchester United v Newcastle United game on 7th December at Old Trafford, have lunch and then meet Sir Alex and see him sign the painting. 

Ben Mosley painting "Sir Alex Ferguson, The King of Managers" 100x100cm Acrylic on Canvas
In this painting Mosley pays homage to the legendary manager. Sir Alex Ferguson is an icon of the modern game and with 49 trophies to his name is arguably one of the greatest managers of all time. Certainly, his managerial career is the greatest Britain has ever known.

Sir Alex said "I am very proud to support Sir Bobby’s Breakthrough Auction in honour of my dear friend Bobby Robson. Sir Bobby was a great friend, a wonderful individual and a tremendous football man.

“The strength and courage he showed over the many years when battling against cancer was indescribable.

“I hope that people around the world will get behind this Sir Bobby’s Breakthrough online auction and help them raise hundreds of thousands of pounds in the fight against cancer."

Sir Alex joins an join an impressive list of sporting stars, celebrities and leading businesses who’ve donated ‘Money can’t buy’ experiences to the auction  including Jose Mourinho, Andre Villas-Boas, Graeme Swann, Kieron Dyer, Bill Nighy, Piers Morgan and Amanda Holden. 

Heading into its final week, the auction has now received more than 300 items donated from sports stars, celebrities and leading business to help raise thousands of pounds for cancer services.

Lot 216 ‘Manchester United VIP Package’ will see four guests enjoy a unique experience at the club including seeing the first team train at the Aon Training Complex and a behind the scenes tour of the facility, as well as a private tour of the Old Trafford stadium and museum, executive seats at a match, plus a meet and greet with Manchester United hosts and ex-players in attendance.

A number of football clubs and associations, both in Europe and internationally, who have also donated prizes to watch training sessions including  England, Bayern Munich, FC Barcelona, LA Galaxy and Tottenham Hotspur. 

Donated by FC Bayern Munich and Josep Guardiola, a once in a lifetime opportunity is for two people to attend training at FC Bayern Munich, then enjoy a meet and greet with the superstar players and receive a first team signed shirt presented by their manager ‘Pep’ Guardiola himself.

Pep, who played under Sir Bobby Robson in 1996/97 at FC Barcelona, commented: "It was a pleasure to know the great Sir Bobby Robson, not only as a coach, but also as a person. Every day with him was a marvellous experience. It was a very difficult season, even though we won three trophies. Despite the problems of that year, he never lost his composure and always behaved like a gentleman.  I am very happy to donate a special auction prize and I ask everyone around the world to get involved in Sir Bobby’s Breakthrough Auction and go to the auction website"

More items will be announced every day as the auction continues, with latest items including a fantastic chance to attend Ascot Park Polo Club Experience, a signed and framed England RFU Rugby Shirt from the 2012/2013 season, a shirt signed by none other than the world famous racer Lewis Hamilton, a signed Chelsea football from the UEFA Champions League 2012 and VIP tickets to see Sunderland AFC v Everton FC

Mark Robson, Sir Bobby’s son, comments: “The online auction is a fantastic way to help us continue the work my father started and raise crucial funds for cancer charities. We are overwhelmed by the generous donation from FIFA. I urge people, clubs and companies to consider donating, however big or small, and bidding to help us reach our £1million target.”

Other amazing sports prizes include a one-off experience to accompany Kieron Dyer as his personal guest to watch Real Madrid play Barcelona (Lot 114),  a private bowling session with Graeme Swann (Lot 35), two tickets for a FC Barcelona home match at Camp Nou (Lot 204), ), a table in the Blue Riband on Ladies Day at Epsom (Lot 242) , access for two lucky teams to play at the famous Essex Cricket Ground (Lot 207) and tickets to three events that are not normally open to the public; the FIFA Ballon d’Or Gala ceremony in Zurich (Lot no 103), the PFA awards in London (Lot 10) and VIP tickets to watch both sessions of the 2014 World Snooker Final at Crucible Theatre in Sheffield, with a backstage tour and full hospitality (Lot 183).

Gina Long, the auction founder, said “It is so exciting now that Sir Bobby’s Breakthrough Online Charity Auction has started and the auction prizes are simply fantastic. The only way we have a hope to raise our £1,000,000 is if people get behind the auction and register to bid. There is an equal split from the 300 amazing prizes of sport and lifestyle; there is literally something for everyone. To have Sir Alex Ferguson’s support and for him to not only be enhancing one of our very special auction prizes and add his own personal donation to it, is incredible!”

Proudly backed by headline supporter BT Sport runs until Sunday 27th October, Sir Bobby’s Breakthrough will raise crucial funds for the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation, Breakthrough Breast Cancer and cancer services within two Suffolk Hospitals.

The auction is now live and to view the catalogue pf prizes and sign up to bid please visit: http://www.the-saleroom.com/en-gb/auction-catalogues/sir-bobbys-breakthrough-auction-and-ball?utm_source=sir-bobby&utm_medium=landing-page&utm_campaign=sir-bobby&utm_content=catlink.

Thursday, 17 October 2013

ALAN SHEARER’S RUN GEORDIE RUN OZ SEND OFF

Charity runner Mark Allison, better known as Run Geordie Run, begins an epic 2,600 mile challenge to cross Australia today (Wednesday 16 October).

Thousands of miles from his home in North East England (Blyth, Northumberland), Mark set off this morning at 7am Perth time (midnight GMT)  knowing that, to successfully complete the journey, he will have to endure the searing heat of ‘the outback’ and run approximately 41 miles a day for 70 days.

The run is in partnership with the North East’s largest Motor Group, Benfield, and Mark is putting himself through all this to raise funds for two charities that are very close to his heart - The Children’s Foundation and the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation.

Before he left his native Tyneside, Mark met up with Alan Shearer, a Patron of the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation, to discuss the run and the enormous preparation and training it has required.

Alan says: “It was a pleasure to meet up with Mark and to wish him good luck.  What he’s attempting is incredible.  When I went to Australia it was seriously hot and not conditions that made me feel like running so I have huge admiration for what he is taking on."

“I know he has his own reasons to want to raise money for the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation.  I hope that knowing he’s helping other people faced with cancer will spur him on when the run gets difficult.

“And it will get difficult, both physically and mentally.  I know he’s worked hard to prepare but he also knows there will be dark times when it just feels too tough to continue.

“I was pleased to have the opportunity to see him before he left for Australia and to thank him on behalf of the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation.  He’s doing something very special.”

Mark, who has previously run across America for charity, sets off from Cottesloe Beach, Perth and is due to finish on Christmas Eve at Bondi Beach, Sydney.

Sadly, Mark lost both his parents to cancer when he was a young man and he has spent 20 years raising funds for good causes in the North East of England.  To date, thanks to the generosity of many kind people, he has raised over £170,000.

Mark says: “It was an honour to meet up with Alan to discuss the run across Australia. Like many people in the North East that I meet, he had a lot of supportive things to say and seemed very appreciative of the task that lies ahead for me.

“To meet one of my idols, a man who I've seen score hundreds of goals home and away, and talk about my running and the charities I raise funds for was thrilling.  It will be something I cast my mind back to while running though the outback, I'm sure.

“It seemed fitting that we had our picture taken with the Tyne Bridge in the background.  Next time I see a bridge that shape will be in Sydney at the end of the run.

“People keep asking me if I’m nervous.  Really, I’m just anxious to get going.  I’ve been talking about this run for so long now and it’s time to put those words into action.

“I need to justify the support I’ve had from my sponsors and from the generous people who have already donated to the two charities.  I can’t wait to get going.”

Mark is passionate about the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation because it funds projects that directly benefit cancer patients from across the North East and Cumbria. The charity’s medical trustees are always looking for the next promising breakthrough in cancer detection and treatment.

Monday, 14 October 2013

SIR BOBBY'S BREAKTHROUGH AUCTION NOW UNDERWAY

Sir Bobby’s Breakthrough Online Charity Auction is officially underway in a bid to raise £1million and the latest item is a money-can’t-buy experience with Manchester United.

The latest item has already had over 20 bids and will see two guests enjoy hospitality in the Premier Lounge, a four course meal and access to a Manchester United match of their choice.

Manchester United join an impressive list of sporting stars, celebrities and leading businesses who have donated to the auction including Jose Mourinho, Andre Villas-Boas, Graeme Swann, Kieron Dyer, Bill Nighy, Piers Morgan and Amanda Holden. 

In 2011, Sir Bobby’s Breakthrough Online Charity Auction brought you Mourinho’s FIFA Ballon d’Or 2010 World Coach of the Year Trophy.

This year, the online auction has upped the ante – with the world famous Fifa Ballon d’Or joining the growing list of money-can’t-buy experiences.

The ceremony recognises the best player and manager of 2013 as voted by international journalists, coaches and players. Attended by football’s biggest names, this is the ultimate football fan experience and an opportunity to mingle with Sir Bobby’s peers and protégés.

Joseph Blatter, FIFA President reflects on the former England manager “I have always held Sir Bobby Robson in very high esteem. In 2009 we presented the FIFA Fair Play Award to his widow, Lady Elsie in memory of Sir Bobby, a man who represented all the good qualities of football.”

More items will be announced every day as the auction continues, with latest items including a VIP Bayern Munich Experience with a presentation by Josep ‘Pep’ Guardiola, a table in the Blue Riband on Ladies Day at Ascot and a one-off experience to accompany Kieron Dyer as his personal guest to watch Real Madrid play Barcelona.

Mark Robson, Sir Bobby’s son, comments, “The online auction is a fantastic way to help us continue the work my father started and raise crucial funds for cancer charities. We are overwhelmed by the generous donation from FIFA. I urge people, clubs and companies to consider donating, however big or small, and bidding to help us reach our £1million target.”

Other amazing sports prizes include two tickets for a FC Barcelona home match at Camp Nou, a day at Derby County Football Club in the Toyota Suite, access for two lucky teams to play at the famous Essex Cricket Ground, a fantastic chance for two to attend an England Senior Men’s football team training session ahead of an England home international fixture in 2014 and a Tottenham Hotspur experience including lunch with Manager, Andre Villas-Boas.

Gina Long, the auction founder, said “It is so exciting to launch the Sir Bobby’s Breakthrough Online Charity Auction with this incredible item from FIFA. I encourage everyone to head to the website and register to bid as an item like this is bound to be a favourite with football fans! Not into football? Check out our other auction items, there is literally something for everyone!”

Running from 10 – 27 October, Sir Bobby’s Breakthrough will raise crucial funds for the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation, Breakthrough Breast Cancer and cancer services within two Suffolk Hospitals.

Proudly backed by headline supporter BT Sport, Sir Bobby’s Breakthrough auction items for 2013 include tickets to the JLS goodbye concert, lunch with Bill Nighy, flights, accommodation and tickets to see the Real Madrid v Barcelona game in the Bernabeu Stadium as Kieron Dyer’s special guest, a VIP trip to next year’s F1 in Monaco by private ‘Eclipse’ jet, incredible sporting art from Ben Mosley, a week sailing on a luxury catamaran ‘Akasha’, a one-on-one personal bowling tuition with England cricketer Graeme Swann at Lords, Paul Gascoigne’s England shirt from a pre-Italia ‘90 training game, the opportunity to have a team play a six-a-side tournament at St. George's Park in 2014 and a week-long stay at The Brewers House in Southwold donated by Adnams.

The auction is now live– to bid go to www.sirbobbysbreakthrough.comand click the ‘Regsiter to Bid’ button.
 
*Visit www.sirbobbysbreakthrough.com for full terms and conditions. Accommodation and flights not included. 

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

STEVE HARPER NETS £327,833 FOR SIX NORTH EAST CHARITIES

Former Newcastle United goalkeeper Steve Harper returned to St. James’ Park today to hand over a cheque for £327,833 which will benefit six North East charities.


The funds were raised as part of the Steve Harper 20 Years Charity Match which took place between Newcastle United and AC Milan legends teams at the stadium on Wednesday 11th September, honouring Harper’s 20-year spell with the Magpies between 1993 and 2013.

As well as boosting three principal beneficiaries – the Newcastle United Foundation, Great North Children’s Hospital and Sir Bobby Robson Foundation, there will now also be a share for the Alan Shearer Foundation, Clarke Lister Brain Haemorrhage Foundation and Toma Fund after overwhelming support from kind-hearted fans.

Almost 51,000 supporters packed out St. James’ Park for the one-off match, which saw some of the biggest names in British and Italian football descend on Tyneside to take part. Harper and ex-Toon teammates including Alan Shearer, Peter Beardsley and Andy Cole narrowly lost 2-1 on penalties to a Milan side featuring Franco Baresi, Paolo Maldini and Alessandro Costacturta following a 0-0 draw.

Steve Harper said: “I’m thrilled that the game has raised so much for these fantastic causes. These are charities which are very close to my heart and which mean a lot to many, many people in the region so it’s a pleasure to be able to make a positive difference to their work.

“I’d like to say a huge thank you to everyone who came along and supported the event and for making it such a special night. Knowing the North East as I do, such incredible support shouldn’t surprise me but it was overwhelming to have 51,000 people turning out. On behalf of the charities, we’re incredibly grateful.”

The Steve Harper 20 Years Charity Match was organised by the Newcastle United Foundation, which worked closely with Carl Dunn of Azzurri Sports Management and counterparts at AC Milan’s own Foundation to secure Milan Glorie appearance.

The Foundation, the official registered charity of Newcastle United, relies on independent funding to continue working with 47,000 young people and families in the North East each year and will channel its share of the proceeds into community projects across North and South Tyneside, County Durham and Northumberland.

Kate Bradley, head of the Newcastle United Foundation, said: “It was a privilege to not only organise the match on Steve’s behalf but to also help raise such a phenomenal amount for causes which help so many people throughout the region.

“The Newcastle United Foundation is celebrating its fifth anniversary this season, which is a significant milestone for us. The funds raised will assist us in working with even more disadvantaged young people and families than before as we bring the football club and the community closer. Our heartfelt thanks go to Steve for leaving this legacy from his 20 years at Newcastle United.”

Liz Luff, from the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation, said: “The match was incredible. It was a very special evening and Steve deserved it after 20 years with the club. We were thrilled to be a part of the occasion and so pleased that Steve has chosen us as one of the beneficiaries.

“The funds will help us with the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation’s main aim which is to help find more effective ways to detect and treat cancer. Sadly far too many people know the pain that cancer causes families. We can do something about it and we are doing something about it and, thanks to people like Steve, we can continue to build on the legacy that Sir Bobby left us.”

Pauline Buglass, head of fundraising at Newcastle Hospitals, said: “We are absolutely honoured to have been chosen by Steve as one of the beneficiaries. The Great North Children’s Hospital is a fantastic facility and the generosity of Steve and everyone who supported the event will mean we can enhance the specialist care we offer to children and families across the North of England and even further afield.”

Monday, 23 September 2013

JOSE MOURINHO’S BOOTS – WORN, SIGNED, PHOTOGRAPHED AND ALL YOURS!

Chelsea Manager donates personalised prize to Sir Bobby’s Breakthrough Online Charity Auction - exciting news from the team behind Sir Bobby's Breakthrough Auction:

One lucky football fan will soon walk away with an incredible piece of unique sporting memorabilia – Jose Mourinho’s signed, worn boots.

The Chelsea FC Manager is the latest sporting great to donate to the Sir Bobby’s Breakthrough Online Charity Auction.

Having donated one of 2011’s most celebrated auction items, his FIFA Ballon D’Or 2010 World Coach of the Year Award Trophy, which raised £26,000, Mourinho has once again offered his support to Sir Bobby’s Breakthrough in memory of Sir Bobby.

This year Mourinho’s incredible donation is a pair of his worn, signed boots including a photograph of authenticity showing him signing the boots.

Jose Mourinho says “Bobby Robson is one of those people who will always be remembered. Not just for what he did in his fantastic career or for one victory more or less, but for what he gave to those who had, like me, the good fortune to know him and walk by his side. I am so happy to again support Sir Bobby’s Breakthrough Auction and I encourage everyone around the world to do the same. Together we will help make the biggest difference in the fight against cancer.”

Sir Bobby and Mourinho worked together at Barcelona FC, where Mourinho became a prominent and influential member of the team. Sir Bobby and Mourinho’s styles complemented each other, with Sir Bobby favouring an attacking style while Mourinho covered defensive options. The partnership was hugely successful with Barcelona winning the European Cup Winners’ Cup.

Gina Long, the auction founder says, “To have Jose's support is very special. He has again donated something so personal to him. Jose always takes his time to think about what he wants to donate and this is a reflection of his admiration and love for Sir Bobby. It never ceases to amaze me how outstandingly generous individual people, football and sporting clubs and companies from all sorts of sectors can be. With less than three weeks to go until the auction goes live, I encourage people to head to register to bid – we literally have something for everyone.’

Mark Robson, Sir Bobby’s son comments, “The online auction is a fantastic way to help us continue the work my father started and raise crucial funds for cancer charities. We are so grateful to Jose for donating yet another incredible auction item this year. Currently we have 254 auction prizes and if we are to reach our £1,000,000 target we really do need at least 200 more. I urge people, clubs and companies to consider donating, however big or small, to what is one of the most exciting fundraisers of 2013.’

Mourinho joins a growing list of sport stars, personalities and leading businesses who have given their support to the Sir Bobby’s Breakthrough online auction including former England midfielder, Kieron Dyer, acclaimed actor, Bill Nighy, comedian David Walliams, Tottenham Hotspur Manager, Andre Villas-Boas and English professional cricketer Graeme Swann.

Running from 10 – 27 October, Sir Bobby’s Breakthrough will raise crucial funds for the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation, Breakthrough Breast Cancer and cancer services within two Suffolk Hospitals.

Proudly backed by headline supporter BT Sport, Sir Bobby’s Breakthrough auction items for 2013 include lunch with Bill Nighy, flights, accommodation and tickets to see the Real Madrid v Barcelona game in the Bernabeu Stadium as Kieron Dyer’s special guest, a Tottenham Hotspur experience including lunch with Manager, Andre Villas-Boas, a VIP trip to next year’s F1 in Monaco by private ‘Eclipse’ jet, incredible sporting art from Ben Mosley, a week sailing on a luxury catamaran ‘Akasha’, a one-on-one personal bowling tuition with England cricketer Graeme Swann at Lords, Paul Gascoigne’s England match shirt from a pre-Italia ‘90 training game, the opportunity to have a team play a six-a-side tournament at St. George's Park in 2014 and a week-long stay at The Brewers House in Southwold donated by Adnams.

Auction items are announced daily. Visit http://www.sirbobbysbreakthrough.com/wordpress/the-auction/ to register as to not miss out!

Friday, 13 September 2013

TONY ‘THE FRIDGE’ - A VERY COOL FINISH TO EPIC CHARITY CHALLENGE

Even he thought it might be ‘a fridge too far,’ but today, (Thursday 12 September) Tony Phoenix-Morrison has achieved his incredible goal and carried a Smeg fridge weighing 42.5kg the length of the UK.

Better known as Tony ‘the Fridge,’ the 49-year-old Granddad from Hebburn, South Tyneside, is no stranger to epic charity feats but the Smeg John O’Groats to Land’s End Endurance Challenge was far and away the most difficult he has faced.

For 41 days, and 1,009 miles, he carried his fridge to raise money and awareness of the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation.  As well as raising tens of thousands of pounds for the charity, which helps find more effective ways to detect and treat cancer, it has been a life-affirming experience for Tony.

Tony says: “When I set out on this challenge, I genuinely had no idea how far I’d get.  I wanted to try something so hard that nobody could be certain of its outcome.  All I could do was try to prepare myself physically and mentally as best I could.

“At the end of this I feel humbled really.  I’ve had so much support and generosity from the British public from the top of Scotland all the way down to the bottom of England.

“It’s not just been the donations to the charity.  People have fed and watered me all over the place and I’ve had umpteen physio treatments.  One physio, Gavin Cree, helped me out the blue when I really needed it just before I got to Newcastle.  And then he came all the way down to London to sort out my dodgy hip again for me. 

“I could go on all day about the kindness I’ve been shown.  But honestly, without all the messages online and people honking their horns in support I know I couldn’t have done this.”

Tony has undertaken some incredibly punishing running challenges for the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation – including running 30 half marathons over 30 consecutive days and running for 24 hours – all carrying an enormous fridge.  His ‘fridge-running’ has captured the imagination of thousands but this challenge, which is his last in the UK, has pushed him to the edge of his endurance.

Tony ran for around seven hours each day.  His route through Scotland took him from John O'Groats to Inverness and over the Cairngorms, tackling ascents of 1,500 ft, then into Edinburgh.

He then ran south through his hometown of Newcastle upon Tyne and passed through County Durham, Yorkshire and Nottinghamshire.

After Leicester, he ran through Milton Keynes and London.  Finally, he ran south west reaching the coast at Southampton and followed the coastline past Exeter to Land’s End.

In total, Tony carried his fridge for 1,009 miles.  He initially planned to run a less direct and more picturesque route of 1,053 miles, but revised it after a fall to make it more direct. 

He has a generous headline sponsor in Smeg, the premium domestic appliance brand, who have made this challenge possible.  In addition, Smeg kindly supplied Tony's bright orange FAB10 fridge and organised charity fundraising activities along the way.

Mike Giddings, managing director of Smeg UK, met Tony at Land’s End and greeted him with a £40,000 cheque for the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation.

Mike says: "Every year Smeg chooses a charity to support and as soon as we met Tony we really understood what he was about.  It’s an honour and a privilege to support him raising money for the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation and to watch him come over the finish line at Land’s End was a moving experience.

“The cause is such a strong one and we wanted to contribute and put something back to the communities we serve.

“The grit and determination shown by Tony is outstanding and we're delighted to see him complete his impossible journey, overcoming so many challenges along the way to raise awareness and much needed funds.

“As a company we're delighted to have made the challenge happen and facilitate Tony's 1,000 mile journey.  We’re grateful to be involved.”

Before he comes home to the North East, Tony will be doing one final, brief run with his fridge.  This time, around the pitch at Ipswich Town’s Portman Road ground.

Ipswich are enthusiastic supporters of the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation and kindly offered Tony the opportunity for a ‘lap of honour’ ahead of their game against Middlesbrough on Saturday (14th September).

It will be a very fitting end to Tony’s time in the south of the country, not only given Sir Bobby’s connections with the Suffolk club, but because Middlesbrough Chairman Steve Gibson is a Patron of the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation.

Tony adds: “All that ever mattered to me was that I gave it my all.  I have the most fantastic wife and family a man could wish for.  Being parted from them, that’s been the hardest part of this.

“This is my last big UK fridge challenge.  I’ve had thoughts about doing something overseas but this is it for me in this country.  I’ll not be putting the fridge away just yet though.  I’ll be doing a few shorter runs with it, including the Great North Run on Sunday.

“I’m very proud that my adventure has given people inspiration to try and push themselves.  And hopefully I’ve helped a few people with cancer too.  Certainly, I know the money raised for the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation will do that.”

Sir Bobby’s son, Mark Robson, met up with Tony as he passed through London on Day 32.

Mark says: “Tony’s just incredible.  I first met him last year at the Great North Run.  I was just doing that run of course but he’d done 29 half marathons, one every day, before that one.

“What strikes me most about him is his mental strength.  That kind of perseverance and determination is exceptional really.

“When I met up with him during this challenge he’d had a fall and was in a lot of pain.  He was limping badly at that point but had no intention to give up.

“Anyone who has been kind enough to sponsor him will know he’s pushed himself to the limit to raise funds for the Foundation.  Our thanks to Smeg for their great generosity and to everyone who has supported Tony over the last 41 days.”

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, and which contribute significantly to international research into the disease.

For more information about Tony’s Smeg John O’Groats to Land’s End’s Endurance Challenge please visit via www.tonythefridge.com and on Twitter through @tony_the_fridge.

If you would like to donate, please visit Tony’s Sir Bobby Robson Foundation Justgiving site http://www.justgiving.com/tonythefridge.  You can also donate by texting ‘FRID93 £5’ to 70070.

Thursday, 5 September 2013

SCORE INCREDIBLE ENGLAND MEMORABILIA WITH SIR BOBBY’S BREAKTHROUGH ONLINE AUCTION


England Football auction items announced ahead of Friday’s World Cup Qualifier - exciting news from the team behind Sir Bobby's Breakthrough Auction:

Enjoy owning the England match shirt Gazza wore during Italia ‘90’s warm up game? Or fancy playing a football match on the hallowed turf of St. George’s Park?

As England prepares to play in a World Cup Qualifier this Friday, organisers are calling on football fans to register for the Sir Bobby’s Breakthrough Online Charity Auction to be in with a chance to bid on some of England’s best memorabilia and a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Considered one of the sporting world’s biggest auctions, the Sir Bobby’s Breakthrough auction, running from 10 – 27 October, will raise crucial funds for the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation, Breakthrough Breast Cancer and cancer services within two Suffolk Hospitals.

A growing list of sporting stars and supporters have backed the Sir Bobby’s Breakthrough online auction in an effort to help raise an ambitious £1million in memory of the football legend. The latest to donate to the auction is Giacomo Malvermi, who was Sir Bobby’s Italia ’90 translator and was privileged to see behind the scenes and get to know the England team.

After a pre-World Cup training game against Tunisia, England hotshot, Paul Gascoigne dug out his England 19 shirt from the bottom of his kit bag and gave it to Giacomo … an England match shirt you can now bid on!

Worn by Gazza ahead of his famous tears in Turin, England fans can own this one-of-a-kind piece of football history. Register now at www.sirbobbysbreakthrough.com so as to not miss out.

Another auction item recently added to the list will see one lucky company enjoy a League Managers Association (LMA) Corporate Football Tournament with a minimum of three 6-a-side games played on the very same pitch used by the England senior team.

Give your company a shot at football glory with this once-in-a-lifetime package including a full playing kit for all members of the squad, management by a LMA member, FA qualified coaches facilitating the match, pre- and post-match food and drink and a prize giving and Q&A session with LMA Ambassadors.

Proudly backed by headline supporter BT Sport, Sir Bobby’s Breakthrough auction items for 2013 also include a Tottenham Hotspur experience including lunch with Manager, Andre Villas-Boas, a VIP trip to next year’s F1 in Monaco by private ‘Eclipse’ jet, exclusive tickets to the 2014 PFA Awards Dinner (the football event of the year), a week sailing on a luxury catamaran ‘Akasha’, all inclusive for ten people, around the British Virgin Isles, a one-on-one personal bowling tuition with England professional cricketer Graeme Swann at Lords and a world cruise for two experiencing the sights of Europe, the Far East and the Caribbean onboard the ‘Balmoral’.

In 2011, Jose Mourinho famously donated his FIFA Ballon D’Or 2010 World Coach of the Year Award Trophy to the auction, raising an incredible £26,000. Other sporting stars who donated in 2011 include Sir Alex Ferguson, Josep ‘Pep’ Guardiola, Andre Villas Boas, Alan Pardew, Arsene Wenger, Lewis Hamilton, Gary Lineker, Graeme Swann and David Beckham.

Visit www.sirbobbysbreakthrough.com for more information.

Giacomo Malvermi, Sir Bobby’s Italia ’90 translator, comments:

“Sir Bobby was a great man and a gentleman of the football world. During my time as his translator at Italia ’90 I was inspired and overwhelmed by his passion, kindness and above all his great humanity and empathy. The fact that so many people in the sporting world and beyond are supporting this campaign says so much about the man and manager Sir Bobby was. I loved Sir Bobby and I am honoured to donate my Paul Gascoigne England match shirt to this online auction in aid of such a good cause.”

Mark Robson, Sir Bobby’s son and part of the Sir Bobby’s Breakthrough committee, comments: “Sadly, cancer is likely to affect every one of us in one way or another and my family knows firsthand the pain it can cause.  That’s why we are so committed to continuing the work started by my father in supporting research for new treatments. The online auction is a fantastic platform to help us raise crucial funds for these charities and we are looking forward to the auction going live in October.”

Gina Long, Founder, concludes, “We are announcing new auction items every day, including Paul Gascoigne’s England shirt, a great piece of England memorabilia, and the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be able to play at the famed St George’s Park. We are overwhelmed by the support we have already received and we encourage people to continue to donate money-can’t-buy prizes and register to bid.”

For more information on how to get involved, please visit: www.sirbobbysbreakthrough.com.

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

NEW ISx CANCER RESEARCH EQUIPMENT FUNDED

New technology unveiled today (Wednesday 4th September) and funded by the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation will provide an insight into how cancers spread around the body and how effectively new treatments are working.

The ImageStream Imaging Flow Cytometer, called an ImagestreamX (ISx), allows scientists to see cancer cells that may be circulating in a patient’s blood and is able to analyse up to 4,000 individual cells a second. 

The ISx is housed in Newcastle University’s Northern Institute for Cancer Research in the Paul O’Gorman Building, which, coincidentally, was officially opened by Sir Bobby Robson on 21 February 2005.

The ISx works like a microscope taking high quality fluorescent images after cancerous cells in a blood sample are tagged with a fluorescent marker.  Researchers can then identify cancerous cells that may have become separated from a tumour so they can study whether they are responsible for the spread of cancer around the body.

It will primarily help with the drug trials being undertaken in the Sir Bobby Robson Cancer Trials Research Centre at the Northern Centre for Cancer Care, Freeman Hospital in Newcastle.

Officially announcing the purchase of the ISx is a proud day for Lady Elsie and supporters of the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation.

Lady Elsie says: “The science involved with new cancer research is incredible really.  We’re moving forward all the time and that’s as it should be.

“It’s a great privilege and a great responsibly being involved with the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation.  So many people continue to help raise money to support our work and on days like this it’s good to be able to show them how their support is making a difference.

“This new equipment will help patients in the Sir Bobby Centre and I understand the Leukaemia Research Group will also find it very helpful.  It’s something the medical trustees of the Foundation strongly recommended we buy and it’s wonderful to see it up and running.”

This is the first ISx in the UK that has been purchased specifically to detect and characterise tumour cells as they travel around the body in the blood stream.  Known as Circulating Tumour Cells (CTCs), they are incredibly rare and a typical blood sample contains approximately 60 million white blood cells, 50 billion red blood cells and as few as five CTCs.

There is growing evidence that the presence of five CTCs is associated with a worse prognosis for the patient so their detection is important.

The information the machine provides will be vital to scientists who are studying whether changes in the number CTCs are a predictor of how well a patient may respond to treatment.  If so, they will be able to identify which patients will benefit from particular treatments.

Dr David Jamieson is a Research Associate at the Northern Institute for Cancer Research and will be using the ISx.

Dr Jamieson says: “We’re all so pleased to have this new Imaging Flow Cytometer.  It will make an enormous difference to our work and we’re very grateful to the Foundation’s supporters for making it happen.

“Many of the drug trials at the Sir Bobby Robson Centre are being used in patients for the first time and new drugs are designed to work in a specific way in tumour cells.  We want to use CTCs, rather than white blood cells or normal skin cells, to work out whether the drugs are working as predicted.

“The ISx has many other important uses too.  As well as the detection of CTCs, it will be very useful to leukaemia researchers as well as in many areas of laboratory preclinical research.

“It can collect pictures of tens of thousands of cells with up to 10 different proteins stained with fluorescent antibodies.  Crucially, this means very small changes in cells can be observed.

“For example, a drug may be expected to result in the movement of a protein from the cytoplasm to the nucleus and the images from the ISx will allow us to see these changes.”

The Sir Bobby Robson Foundation provided £438,000 to buy the ISx and its purchase has only been possible thanks to tremendous ongoing support for the charity from thousands of individual fundraisers and help from the Newcastle Building Society, which has made a record contribution of £0.5million to the charity in the last year.

In 2012, the Newcastle Building Society launched two special charity-linked accounts, which proved to be their most popular of the year.

The Society pays an additional percentage on all balances held in the accounts to the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation.  It is the charity’s first financial partnership of this nature.

Jim Willens, Chief Executive, Newcastle Building Society, says: “Our partnership with the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation has been very successful.

“Having thought long and hard about which charity we could support, the natural choice was the Foundation.  It provides a good opportunity for more savers to raise crucial cash for the charity and it has its roots in the North East it fits which fits perfectly with our regional heritage.

“We are delighted that through our products we have been able to donate £500,000 to the Foundation and equally delighted to have contributed to this vital piece of equipment that will hopefully go far in researching the spread of cancer.”

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, and which contribute significantly to international research into the disease.

Last year, Lady Elsie officially opened the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation PET Tracer Production Unit, which was jointly funded by the charity and Newcastle University.  The charity also announced it was contributing £850,000 towards life-saving new stereotactic-surgery equipment at the Northern Centre for Cancer Care at the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle.

Both of these major advances in treatment and tumour detection for cancer patients also work alongside with the clinical trials of new drugs within the Sir Bobby Robson Centre.

This October, a team of dedicated volunteers will be running Sir Bobby’s Breakthrough Auction for the second time.  This online auction will raise funds for the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation, Breakthrough Breast Cancer and cancer services within Suffolk Hospitals.

In 2011, it raised over £200,000 and attracted phenomenal prizes from the football community and beyond.  This year, the team has given themselves an ambitious fund-raising target of £1million and the auction includes a new ‘Text-to-Win’ competition to ensure that everyone who wants to can get involved.

For more information, please visit www.sirbobbysbreakthrough.com.

Thursday, 29 August 2013

Guests on Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines’ recent ‘Sir Bobby Robson Cruise’ from Harwich to Amsterdam and Newcastle, were taken on a trip down memory lane with reminiscences of the much loved Ipswich Town, Newcastle and England football manager.

Former Ipswich players including Allan Hunter, George Burley, John Wark and Bryan Hamilton together with guest of honour, Lady Elsie, helped to raise £8,853 through raffles and auctions that took place during the cruise.

Nathan Philpot, sales and marketing Director for Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines, said: “We were delighted that this proved to be such a successful cruise and are extremely grateful to Lady Elsie Robson and the ex-Ipswich Town players for their participation and fundraising efforts.”

Saturday, 17 August 2013

‘TYNE FRIDGE’ – FUNDRAISER COMES HOME

Tony ‘the Fridge’ Phoenix-Morrison, from Hebburn, is part-way through an incredible 40 day fundraising challenge to raise money for the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation.

The 49-year-old granddad returned to his native north east this weekend, 15 days into his Smeg John O’Groats to Land’s End Endurance Challenge in which he is attempting to run 40 marathons, in 40 consecutive days, and carrying a 42.5kg fridge every step of the way.

Tony has undertaken some incredibly punishing running challenges for the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation – including running 30 half marathons over 30 consecutive days and running for 24 hours – all carrying an enormous fridge.  His ‘fridge-running’ has captured the imagination of thousands but this challenge, which is his last in the UK, is pushing him to the edge of his endurance.

He was visibly moved by the cheers of family, friends and supporters as he approached St James’ Park today (Saturday) before posing for photos with the statue of Sir Bobby. 

Tony says he has been “repaired a bit” and is struggling with the camber of the roads and slightly uneven weight of the fridge, which is combining to cause problems with his left leg.

He says: “My left leg has just been dead at times.  I could swing it in a forward direction but no side to side movement.  I couldn’t salsa but I move forward. 

“We couldn’t quite rectify it but going down the road in Ponteland a lovely lady offered us some water and we said no thanks but we’d love a phsyio if you got one.  She said, oh yeah, there’s one next door!

“He was great.  Got me straight on the bed and popped my pelvis back in place.  You could hear the pop.  It was brilliant.  I limped in and walked out.  Gavin Cree he was called and he was a miracle worker.

“Next year I’m going to be Tony ‘the Fridge-less.’  I’m putting a for sale sign on this fridge when I get to Land’s End.  It’ll be available for purchase with only 1,053miles on the clock and money going to the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation.

“But when you see people on the road, and they come up and say they have a loved one with cancer and you’re running for them, that’s when it really hits home.  We lost Auntie Pam to cancer just a couple of weeks ago and many more family members too so we know exactly what they’re going through.”

Fittingly, the finishing point for Day 15 and the starting point for Day 16 (Sunday 18th August) of Tony’s run was Sir Bobby Robson’s statue at St James’ Park in Newcastle.  From here, he faces a further 25 days running, and another 660miles, to reach Land’s End on 11 September.

Tony adds: “It’s been great running home to Newcastle and, I’m thinking, well what have I got to look forward to next.  And that’s a lot of days of pain, there’s an arduous task ahead of me.  But no doubt I’ll meet many more people and have more adventures. 

“We’re on this crazy adventure.  I’ve my feet blessed, people cooking for me, all sorts.  We call this phenomenon ‘fridge love.’ 

“Sir Bobby Robson, now he really is a legend.  There was a time when I was up in the mountains and it was getting late.  I was running in the dark and I really did feel low and wondering how stupid this whole thing is and looking at the enormity of the task ahead of us.  And I had this dark moment, I’m only human. 

“So I started shuffling through my iPod to see if I could come up with a song or whatever and I’m clicking through and Nessun Dorma came on.  And I could see Sir Bobby with a tear in his eye at the end of the World Cup semi final when we hadn’t got through and I could just hear him saying go on the Fridge. It was amazing. 

“So if I ever need a lift, going up a hill or whatever, I know that song is there.

“Doing this, it’s the greatest honour of my life.  And if I can help or cheer up people fighting cancer even for a moment during the 40 days I’m doing this, then that’s something I’ll hold dear forever.”

Tony is running for around seven hours each day.  His route through Scotland took him from John O'Groats to Inverness and over the Cairngorms, tackling ascents of 1,500 ft, into Edinburgh.

His route on Sunday will take him over the Tyne Bridge and past the Angel of the North finishing just outside Durham.  Then on Monday he will continue on through Darlington and Northallerton.

As he leaves the north east, he will run through York and on to Nottingham.  After Leicester, he will hit Milton Keynes before arriving in London.  He will then run south west for the final leg of the journey, reaching the south coast at Southampton, before following the coast line westerly past Exeter and on to Land’s End.

In total, Tony will be running 1,053 miles and is receiving tremendous support from the public.  He also has a generous headline sponsor in Smeg, the premium domestic appliance brand, who have made this challenge possible.

In addition, Smeg is the supplier of Tony's bright orange FAB10 fridge, which weighs in at a staggering 42.5kg (equivalent to combined weight of 40 litres of water or 40 house bricks).

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, and which contribute significantly to international research into the disease.

Please follow Tony’s progress live via via www.tonythefridge.com and on Twitter through @tony_the_fridge.

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

LADY ELSIE BOWLED OVER BY GRAEME SWANN SUPPORT


Fresh from helping his teammates retain The Ashes, and ahead of the inaugural Durham Ashes test match, England’s Graeme Swann is taking time out to help another team.

Graeme is proud to be a member of the committee of volunteers behind Sir Bobby’s Breakthrough Auction.  This online auction, text-to-win competition and Suffolk Ball aims to raise an incredible £1million this October for the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation, Breakthrough Breast Cancer and cancer services within two Suffolk hospitals.

The first Sir Bobby’s Breakthrough Auction, in 2011, received incredible support and auction lots included Jose Mourinho’s FIFA World Coach of the Year 2010 Ballon D’Or.

That year, Graeme kindly donated a VIP test match experience and cricket memorabilia and this year he wanted to do even more to help and is donating a personal training session.

Graeme says: “I was approached last time to donate prizes for the auction and I was happy to give some cricket tickets.  Then when I was asked if I'd like to be part of the voluntary organising committee for the auction this time round I just jumped at the chance.

"It's great for me.  I was a huge fan of Sir Bobby and now I get to help his charity and support these other great charities too.  It's win win for me.

"Supporting cancer charities is hugely important because cancer is something which affects us all.  Everyone in the country is directly or indirectly affected by it.

"Sir Bobby's Breakthrough Auction is something I'm proud to be involved in and I'm offering a bowling training session as a prize. Or batting, I can do a bit of that too.

"And you don't have to be a sporting person to help out by donating a prize.  Anyone can get involved and help us raise £1million."

Taking place from 10 – 27 October, Sir Bobby’s Breakthrough Auction will raise funds to help fight cancer.  The first auction raised almost a quarter of a million pounds with the support of celebrities from the sporting world and beyond.

Sir Alex Ferguson, Josep ‘Pep’ Guardiola, Andre Villas Boas, Alan Pardew, Arsene Wenger, Lewis Hamilton, Gary Lineker, David Beckham and Ant and Dec all donated prizes to the auction and this year’s prizes already look set to match these.

Lady Elsie is very touched by Graeme’s involvement in Sir Bobby’s Breakthrough Auction, which was founded and is coordinated by her friend Gina Long.

Lady Elsie says: “Bob absolutely loved cricket and I know he’d be thrilled by the support Graeme’s giving this auction.

“We’re so lucky to have such wonderful help for the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation.  I’m often amazed by the amount of effort people will go to for the charity.  It’s really very touching.

“My husband launched his charity to help other people faced with cancer and we’re all so proud and so glad that we can keep doing just that.  The scientists and experts are always moving closer to better ways to detect and treat cancer and we plan to keep supporting them in their work as long as we can.”

Auction prizes already confirmed for 2013 include a VIP trip to next year’s F1 in Monaco by private ‘Eclipse’ jet, exclusive tickets to the 2014 PFA Awards Dinner and a week sailing on a luxury catamaran for ten people around the British Virgin Isles.

There are many more lots to be announced via www.sirbobbysbreakthrough.com and this year’s auction also includes a text-to-win competition to ensure anyone can enter and support the fundraising.