A STAR-STUDDED charity auction in memory of legendary Newcastle United manager Sir Bobby Robson has raised £350,000 for the fight against cancer.
Sir Bobby’s Breakthrough online charity auction saw a host of heavyweight football figures – from Sir Alex Ferguson, Pep Guardiola, Jose Mourinho and Andre Villas-Boas – team up with cricket hero Graham Swann and Formula One driver Mark Webber and celebrities such as Bill Nighy and Amanda Holden donate lucrative prizes to be put under the hammer.
The huge charity haul is more than double the £150,000 raised at the last auction in Sir Bobby’s honour two years ago.
Former England boss Sir Bobby died of cancer in July 2009 after fighting the disease five times in his life.
But the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation, which he set up a year before his death, continues to offer a legacy of hope to others battling cancer.
Big-hearted internet users had between October 10 and last Sunday to dig deep to win the items and raise vital cash for cancer services.
Among the most sought after items were a training session and lunch for two with Tottenham Hotspur manager Andre Villas Boas, which went for more than £9,300, and a three-and-a-half month world cruise which was officially the biggest cash-raiser of the auction when bidders pushed it up to £9,400
A signed painting by Sir Alex Ferguson and an invitation to meet him and watch Newcastle United take on Manchester United also drew attention, raising an impressive £4,500.
All the funds raised will go the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation, Breakthrough Breast Cancer and two Suffolk hospitals to help continue the global fight against the deadly condition.
The Sir Bobby Robson Foundation continues to fulfill Sir Bobby’s ambitions to find more effective ways to detect and treat cancer.
This year, work has included funding an Imaging Flow Cytometer for £438,000, which allows scientists to see cancer cells that may be circulating in a patient’s blood.
Gina Long, founder of Sir Bobby’s Breakthrough Auction and Ball, says: “We’re really happy with how the auction has gone. We’ve raised a huge amount of money in only two weeks and we know how important that money is to our chosen cancer charities.
“We’re still finalising the accounts but it will be around the £350,000 mark and at least £150,000 more than we raised in our first year.
“It just shows the colossal amount of love and respect people have for Sir Bobby and his cancer charity.”
Sir Bobby Robson’s widow, Lady Elsie said: “We’re extremely grateful to everyone who has so generously supported Sir Bobby’s Breakthrough Auction.
“It has been a remarkable fundraising venture. And all the more remarkable knowing the team behind it are volunteers.”