Our Patron and former Newcastle United and England striker, Alan Shearer, will receive recognition for his many achievements away from the football pitch this weekend (Sunday 17th February).

The Premier League’s all-time top goal-scorer will be attending North East Football Writers’ Association’s annual awards night to receive the North East Personality of the Year trophy, a special award given in association with our Foundation to recognise someone who uses their position in football to benefit the wider community.

Alan launched his own charity, the Alan Shearer Foundation, in 2012 to support the Alan Shearer Centre in Newcastle. It provides specialist respite, residential and social provision for people with complex disabilities and acute sensory impairments.

His Newcastle United testimonial match in 2006 raised £1.64m for good causes.

As well as being our Patron, he is an Ambassador for the NSPCC and an Honorary Patron of CHUF (the Children’s Heart Unit Fund), and has supported and participated in countless charity fundraising events and activities – including difficult physical challenges for Sport Relief.

In addition, Alan’s thoughtful sports science documentary, Dementia, Football and Me, which investigates the potentially devastating link between heading the ball and dementia, was broadcast last year, shedding light on this important issue.

Colin Young, secretary of the North East Football Writers’ Association, says: “We’ve been keen to honour Alan for many years and we’re very proud to be able to do so now. The timing feels exactly right after the release of his excellent dementia documentary.

“Alan is someone who represents this sport and this region wherever he goes, and he does so extremely well. His commitment to supporting charities is second-to-none and he does immense good through his own Foundation. He’s an extremely worthy recipient of this award.”

Held annually at Ramside Hall Hotel in Durham, the North East Football Writers’ Association Awards night, sponsored by William Hill, celebrates the best of North East football.

The event will, once again, raise funds for our Foundation, which helps find more effective ways to detect and treat cancer.

Lady Elsie says: “I didn’t hesitate for a moment when Alan was suggested for this award.

“Like my husband, he’s always understood that being a high-profile footballer brings great rewards but also great responsibilities and the chance to do something positive to help others. Especially in an area like the North East, which is so passionate about the game.

“Alan’s such an active supporter of local charities and absolutely deserves recognition for that. I’m very proud that he’s a Patron of our own Foundation and I know Bob would be, too.

“In fact, I know he’d have him down as the first name on his team sheet.”

Other recipients of North East Football Writers’ Association awards include Men’s Player of the Year, Martin Dubravka, Young Player of the Year, Josh Maja and Womens’ Player of the Year, Beth Hepple.

The previous winners of the North East Personality of the Year trophy are:

· Niall Quinn
· Robbie Elliott
· Steve Harper
· Jermain Defoe

Final tickets for the North East Football Writers’ Association’s annual awards night are available from Claire Stephen at Ramside Hall Hotel (0191 375 3080/