Monday, 23 September 2013


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 to register as to not miss out!

Friday, 13 September 2013


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 and on Twitter through @tony_the_fridge.

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

Thursday, 5 September 2013


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 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 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:

Wednesday, 4 September 2013


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