Fundraising firefighters have been thanked by Sir Bobby Robson’s widow after taking part in a marathon bike ride to raise funds for the cancer-fighting charity which bears his name.
On September 23 a team of nine cyclists rode to all 17 fire stations in the Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue service area.
They covered a distance of 92 miles in one day and raised £985 for the Foundation, in memory of late friend and colleague Control Firefighter Lee Hope.
He died on July 19, aged just 33, after being diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer.
Lady Elsie, who met some of the fundraisers at the Washington training HQ said: “Lee obviously meant a great deal to his colleagues, and it’s touching that they’re so keen to help raise funds in his memory.
“It’s a wonderfully positive way to remember Lee, and it was a great pleasure to come along and say ‘thank you’ on behalf of the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation in person.”
Control support crew manager Karl Faetz, organiser of the fundraising event, said: “I knew Lee since he was 18, and as one of his last wishes was to raise money for the Foundation in his name, I wanted to do something to help.
“The bike ride was hard work, but worth it for such a deserving cause and to remember a good friend.
“It was great to meet Lady Elsie, and we really appreciated her coming to thank us in person.”
Lee’s older brother Scott, who works for Tyne and Wear Fire and Rescue said: “Lee told us in the last few days of his life that he’d like any donations to go to the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation.
“Over £4,000 was donated just after Lee died, and I think he’d be really happy that his family and friends have gone on to do even more to help the charity, too.
“I’m very proud of Karl and the lads for completing this cycle ride in Lee’s memory.
“The money raised will go on to help other people with cancer, and that’s a great way to remember my brother.”
Scott is organising his own fundraising activity for the two charities, too.
Next April he will walk from Sir Bobby’s statue at Portman Road, Ipswich, to his statue at St James’s Park in Newcastle.
The epic 333-mile walk is called Hike4Hopey and will take 12 days to complete.
The Sir Bobby Robson Foundation aims to find more effective ways to detect and treat cancer and has raised more than £10million.