Goalkeeper, Steve Harper, has played for or coached at many of the North East’s football clubs, including 20 years at Newcastle United.

Next month (12 February), in addition to recognising his professional contribution to the game, Steve will be honoured at the North East Football Writers’ Awards for his services to the region away from the pitch.

Held annually at Ramside Hall Hotel in Durham, the event celebrates the best of North East football and Steve will be presented with North East Personality of the Year, an award given in association with the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation.

Colin Young, secretary of the North East Football Writers’ Association, explains: “We’re very proud to be giving Steve this award. His professional approach to the game is outstanding and he has always understood how his position in football can help within the wider community.

“He has spoken out about issues with depression, helping open up what is a hugely important issue within football, takes time to engage with fans and has been active in the sport on every level.

“We were also very keen to recognise his outstanding contribution to charities in our region.

“Steve regularly gives up time to help charities, large and small, and his involvement goes well beyond lip service. He is an accomplished and principled man and a great representative of North East football.”

Steve’s charity match at St. James’ Park, a game between Newcastle United v AC Milan legends, celebrated his 20 years with Newcastle United and raised £327,833 for six North East charities, including the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation.

Lady Elsie says: “Steve is someone Bob relied on at Newcastle and he’s someone we turn to time and time again.

“He’s always so interested in the work the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation funds, he understands its importance, and he gives up his time so generously to help.

“I can’t count the number of occasions he’s supported us and I know he’s just as active helping other charities, too.

“He’s compassionate, obliging and very thoughtful, and we’re thrilled that he’s receiving this extremely well-deserved recognition.”

The North East Football Writers’ Association Awards is on Sunday 12 February at Ramside Hall Hotel. Other recipients of awards include England captain, Stephanie Houghton, and Sunderland’s Jermain Defoe and Jordan Pickford, who will pick up Player of the Year and Young Player of the Year respectively.

Tickets to the black tie event are available now at £55 per person, which includes a four course meal and entertainment. Please call Claire Stephen on 0191 375 3080 or email claire.stephen@ramsidehallhotel.co.uk for more information or to book tickets.