Sir Bobby Robson would have celebrated his 80th birthday in February and to mark the occasion there will be a star-studded gala event at The Sage Gateshead in aid of the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation and The Alan Shearer Foundation.
Sir Bobby Robson – A Celebration on 18th February will bring together Sir Bobby’s family and friends with top musicians, comedians and football ‘royalty’.
The event sold out within hours of tickets going on sale and after hearing about it one local football club decided to do their own bit to remember Sir Bobby and help the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation.
Winlaton Juniors Football Club had planned to do a collection at St James’ Park before the Newcastle United v Chelsea game on Saturday (2 February) to raise funds for their club.
This will be the closest home league game to Sir Bobby’s birthday, so they contacted the Foundation and offered to split the proceeds with the cancer charity.
Young members of the club were at St James’ Park this week to plan the details of their collection and were thrilled to receive a surprise visit from The X Factor and Popstar To Operastar winner Joe McElderry.
Joe, from South Shields, is one of the headline acts performing at Sir Bobby Robson – A Celebration and was supposed to be in the recording studio this week. However, his travel plans were disrupted by the winter weather and, with an unexpected break in his schedule, he took the opportunity to meet and thank Winlaton Juniors for their support.
Joe, an Ambassador for the Teenage Cancer Trust, says: “I was very touched to hear about Winlaton Juniors’ offer to raise money for the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation with this collection. With everyone doing a bit we can really help make a difference against this terrible disease.
“Plans for the Sir Bobby birthday celebration night at The Sage Gateshead are coming along well and I know there are more performers and high-profile guests confirmed and ready to announce.
“It will be a very special evening raising money for two wonderful charities and I’m really looking forward to it.”
As well as posing for photographs with Winlaton Juniors, Joe visited Sir Bobby’s memorial garden at Gallowgate and signed autographs for young fans in the Newcastle United club shop.
Craig Newby, chairman of Winlaton Juniors, says: “We were so pleased to hear Joe was coming along to support us. We didn’t mention it to the kids in advance so they got a fantastic surprise on the day.
“Like most community football teams we rely on fund-raising and contributions from parents to keep us going and our collection at St James’ Park had been planned for months. When we realised it was so close to Sir Bobby’s birthday we all agreed we wanted to do something to help his charity too.
“We were just at St James’ Park this week to plan what needs doing on Saturday and a lady stopped me to give £5 for the collection. I said we weren’t doing it yet but she said she wouldn’t be around on Saturday and wanted to help. That says so much to me about how people feel about Sir Bobby and the work of his charity.”
Sir Bobby Robson – A Celebration on 18th February is based on Sir Bobby’s favourite music and will feature some of his Desert Island Discs choices performed by some of the country’s finest artists at The Sage Gateshead.
It will also feature some of Sir Bobby’s final interviews, which were originally filmed for use at this event when it was first planned, with his involvement, in 2009.