North East football came together today (Wednesday 24 April) to raise funds for the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation.
Current and former players and staff from Middlesbrough FC, Sunderland AFC and Newcastle United were among the golfers swinging into action at the Sir Bobby Robson Celebrity Golf Day at Rockliffe Hall Hotel, near Darlington.
Organised by Sir Bobby’s family, it is the third annual golf day in aid of the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation and charity Patron and Middlesbrough chairman Steve Gibson was among the high-profile guests.
Other guests supporting the event included Middlesbrough’s Tony Mowbray, Jason Steele, Nicky Bailey, Dean Gordon, Jimmy Warnett and Richard Smallwood, former Sunderland players Micky Horswill, Ritchie Pitt and John MacPhail and Newcastle United’s John Carver, Steve Stone, Andy Woodman, Bob Moncur, John Beresford, Steve Howey, James Perch, Dan Gosling and Shola Ameobi.
Tony ‘The Fridge’ Phoenix-Morrison, who ran for 24 hours carrying a fridge at the weekend to raise funds for the Foundation, was also among the golfers. The granddad from Hebburn was celebrating his 49th birthday and received a special thank you from Sir Bobby’s son Andrew.
Lady Elsie says: “This is always such a special day for my family and I because we’re so involved with organising things. We meet so many wonderful fund-raisers for the Foundation and it feels good to be one of them at this time of year.
“I love the way this golf day unites the north east football clubs. Bob would have been very touched by that.
“The support our charity receives from Sunderland, Newcastle and Middlesbrough particularly is wonderful and we really appreciate it. Especially as I know they’re each coming to the end of a long football season.”
Middlesbrough FC chairman, Steve Gibson, says: “It’s fantastic to see all three North East football clubs so well represented. It’s a busy time of the season for everyone but people made the effort to come out and that’s a tribute to Sir Bobby and all his charity is trying to achieve.
“I’m very proud to be a Patron of the Foundation and it’s fantastic that the people of the North East have been so supportive of it. It’s raised over £5million now and that money’s helping people with cancer in this region.”
Former Sunderland player Micky Horswill says: “I knew Bobby well. He used to joke that he would receive a better welcome at Sunderland than he did at Newcastle in his later years.
“He just loved football and everyone at Sunderland respected him for that.”
Former Sunderland player John MacPhail says: “It’s a thrill to be part of the fund-raising efforts for Sir Bobby’s Foundation today. It’s a mark of the man to see how much support the charity gets from everyone in the region.”
Newcastle United’s Shola Ameobi says: “I’m very happy to support the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation and especially on a lovely day like this. We’re playing a bit of golf but today is about raising money and hopefully some awareness of the charity.
“Sir Bobby meant the world to me. I wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for him, his generosity, his kindness and his leadership. He was a mentor to me even after he left Newcastle. It’s very important to me to make sure I’m involved and to do what I can to raise money for his Foundation.”
After playing 18 holes at Rockliffe, guests at the Sir Bobby Robson Celebrity Golf Day will have the opportunity to bid on a very special painting of Sir Bobby, which was created especially for the event by the widely collected young British artist Jeremy Houghton.
A Newcastle United fan from Worcestshire, Jeremy’s paintings are included in the collections at Buckingham Palace, St James Palace, The Royal Collection of Luxembourg and Chatsworth House and he was the official artist for the 2012 London Olympic Games.
His international resume includes a recent official commission to paint HM the Queen in 2009 and he is currently the resident artist for HRH The Prince of Wales at Highgrove.
As a keen supporter of Newcastle United, Jeremy was pleased to pay his own tribute to the memory of Sir Bobby by painting him at the height of his playing career in 1962 and he plans to help the Foundation again with an exhibition of sport in the near future.