Our heartfelt congratulations to Professor Ruth Plummer, who has been made an MBE in the Queen’s Jubilee birthday honours list for services to Medicine.

Prof Plummer is Professor of Experimental Cancer Medicine, Newcastle University, and an honorary consultant medical oncologist at Newcastle Hospitals. She is also Director of the Sir Bobby Robson Cancer Trials Research Centre and leads the Newcastle Experimental Cancer Medicine Centre and CRUK Newcastle Cancer Centre.

She was Sir Bobby’s oncologist and he trusted her “implicitly.” She is also the reason the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation exists and we are hugely proud of her.

When Prof Plummer was treating Sir Bobby following his fifth diagnosis of cancer she asked if he knew anyone who might help or contribute to the £500,000 she needed to equip a new clinical trials unit at the Northern Centre for Cancer Care, Freeman Hospital.

Sir Bobby responded by launching the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation as part of Newcastle Hospitals Charity in March 2008, sitting alongside Prof Plummer at the press conference.

And the rest is history… Or, rather, an incredible, ongoing team effort to find more effective ways to detect and treat cancer. Prof Plummer has been recognised for her great commitment to that effort throughout a pioneering career.

Lady Elsie wrote a letter in support of Professor Plummer’s nomination for an honour and has given permission to share it:

Professor Ruth Plummer was my husband’s oncologist and Bob and I trusted her judgement implicitly as she guided us through those terrible months.

She is also the reason we began the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation. Or, as my husband jokingly put it during one particularly dull charity legal meeting, “This is all your fault.”

It was Ruth’s commitment to fundraising an initial £500,000 to equip a new cancer drug trials centre that inspired us to launch our charity. As Bob said at the time, “We’ll help get you the money. You have a day job to do.”

Ruth sat alongside my husband, blinking in the unfamiliar media spotlight when we launched our Foundation in 2008. In the 14 years since then, her support for our work has been unwavering – and she has always continued with her incredibly demanding “day job.”

Ruth is the heartbeat of our Foundation. As a Trustee, she brings immense expertise and a measured approach to all our decision making.

Beginning at our launch press conference, she has had to step into an unfamiliar and challenging media role and become our ‘expert voice.’

She manages to juggle her family life with an extremely demanding work schedule that takes her across the world, yet somehow still finds time to represent the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation at fundraising events, large and small. Her commitment is incredible and, with her help, we have gone on to raise over £16m to find more effective ways to detect and treat cancer.

Ruth is loved and respected by everyone she works with and by everyone she comes into contact with through our charity. She is a woman of tremendous empathy, courage and professionalism.

My husband admired Ruth greatly, as do I. As does everyone connected with the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation.