A regular fundraising event, called Three Days for Bobby, has taken on new personal meaning this year.
A group of friends from Sunniside, Whickham and London have come together eight times already to raise money for our Foundation through walking and cycling challenges.
Three Days for Bobby riders including (front row L-R) Steve Harper, with Peter Hay’s sons Graham, Stephen and Kevin Hay
This year, they are cycling from Newcastle to Lancaster and set off today (Thursday 9th August) from Sir Bobby’s statue at St James’ Park and our Patron, Steve Harper, was on hand to see them off.
Organiser Stephen Hay, a Northumbrian Water Treatment Supervisor from Sunniside, explains why this year’s Three Days for Bobby has taken on such special meaning.
Stephen says: “When we started raising money for the Foundation it was as a tribute to Sir Bobby really. He achieved so much in football and then with his cancer charity and we wanted to do our bit for him.
“We always knew one day cancer would directly affect one of us and, sadly, that happened earlier this year when my Dad was diagnosed.
“He’s done a couple of rides with us but won’t be fit enough to take part this time because of the treatment he’s having. He’ll be there at the finish line though and we’re all looking forward to seeing him.”
Stephen’s Dad, Peter Hay, is from Tyneside and now lives in Galloway. He was diagnosed with an aggressive form of stage 4 brain cancer (glioblastoma) earlier this year.
Stephen, who will be cycling alongside his brothers Graham and Kevin, adds: “Dad had returned to Scotland after a visit to Newcastle and felt unwell. He couldn’t stand up or remember where he was.
“At first, we thought he’d just been overdoing things and was stressed but then the diagnosis came and we were all knocked for six. But that’s how it happens with this horrible disease. It just comes out of nowhere.
“We know Dad’s cancer is incurable now but we all want to think that one day all cancer will be treatable. The ride will be hard, and none of us are what you’d call athletes, but we’re even more determined than usual to complete the challenge this time.
“Pretty stupidly, I haven’t been on a bike since the last Three Days for Bobby three years ago, so I think I’m going to suffer quite a lot. Hopefully people will feel sorry for me and that will result in more sponsorship for the charity.”
In total, the Three Days for Bobby walks and cycle rides have raised around £25,000 for our Foundation.
As a Patron of our charity, Steve Harper was pleased to be at St James’ Park to officially set the riders on their way.
Steve says: “The work of our Foundation is funded by people like this and it’s great to see their enthusiasm for the ride and for the charity.
“Stephen said they were organising this even before his Dad was diagnosed with cancer because so many people are touched by this terrible disease.
“You can sense the emotion and that extra little bit of motivation and adrenalin that they have, especially Stephen and his two brothers. They’re all hoping Peter can be there at the end of the ride.
“I’m glad the weather’s been kind to them, it’s not windy. And great to hear them all taking the micky out of each other. We had a puncture before they even started, which was very funny.
“It’s going to be hard but you know they’re going enjoy the next three days and all for a very worthwhile cause.”
This year, there are 15 cyclists and two support drivers undertaking Three Days for Bobby and the ride is around 150 miles long.
It begins at St James’ Park and the first overnight stopping point is Osmotherley in North Yorkshire, then Hawes in the Yorkshire Dales, before finishing in Lancaster on Saturday (11 August).
To sponsor the Three Days for Bobby riders, please visit: