Our Foundation is very lucky to receive tremendous support from within the football community – from fans, players and clubs alike.

Simon O’Rourke, Steve Harper (Patron of the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation), Lady Elsie and Ian Payne ‘picking up the baton’ for Sir Bobby

We are also fortunate to receive help from members of the media, who cover the game Sir Bobby loved so dearly.

Kevin Davies, Mark Robson and George Caulkin (Patron of the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation)

George Caulkin, football writer at The Times, is among the Foundation’s dedicated Patrons and there are a number of journalists and photographers, many of whom worked with Sir Bobby, pulling on their trainers to help raise funds for the charity at this Sunday’s Great North Run.

They include ITV presenters Ian Payne and Simon O’Rourke who met with Lady Elsie and Sir Bobby Robson Foundation Patron, Steve Harper, this week to share their hopes for the run.

Ian first undertook the Great North Run 30 years ago, in 1987, when he was 19. He also ran the Ipswich Half Marathon that year (now the Great East Run) so now, before he turns 50, he’s going to try to run them again.

Ian says: “All this sounded great in my head when I decided to do it. Except 30 years ago I was a Sports Degree student and very fit. And now I’m not!

“The Great North Run is on Sunday then just two weeks later, it’s the first ever Great East Run in Ipswich. I’m originally from Ipswich and Sir Bobby was a huge hero of mine, both for what he achieved with Ipswich Town and then what he went on to do through his Foundation.

“This is going to be a big ask for my nearly 50-year-old legs but I’m excited to get going. I’ll be pushing Simon every step of the way. At least, that’s what I’ve told him.”

Simon says: “I’m running the Great North Run for Sir Bobby this year because I hope a totally inspirational man will inspire me.

Simon, Ian and Andrew Robson

“I was lucky enough to meet him on a number of occasions and he was a man you could never forget. A force of nature, a kindly whirlwind and a wise old owl.

“I even have my own special Sir Bobby memory, which was at an evening event towards the end of his life. He called me over to sit next to him and we talked football for half an hour or so, just the two of us. I’ll never forget it.

“He contributed so much to the sport I love and he met every challenge with every inch of his heart and soul. Sir Bobby’s Foundation is a fitting legacy and another battle he was determined we will win.

“Last year I celebrated finishing the Great North Run by drinking a can of cider in the North Sea. I might do it again this time if I beat Ian!”

To sponsor Ian, please visit:

To sponsor Simon, please visit: