A Knight to remember

February 2013

Lady Elsie Robson and her sons

A vast "team" of football, comedy, opera and stage stars kicked off a night to celebrate the life of previous Newcastle and England manager and former St Cuthberts Care patron, Sir Bobby Robson, at the Sage last night – the day which would have been his 80th birthday.

The Sir Bobby Robson Foundation's sell-out event, which included singers Joe McElderry, Russell Watson and Ruby Turner, television's Tim Healy and Alistair McGowan, and football stars Stuart Pearce and Alan Pardew, was staged to raise funds for the Alan Shearer Foundation and Sir Bobby's cancer charity.

The show was introduced by local musician Billy Mitchell who treated the audience to a rendition of the Lindisfarne classic Run For Home, and was hosted by TV sports presenter, Jim Rosenthal.

Simon Day took over Jim's interviewing role for a sketch reviving Paul Whitehouse's Fast Show character, Ron Manager. But real life footballers Newcastle United's Shola Ameobi and Steve Harper gave the comedians a run for their money with their own funny and moving reminiscences of playing for Sir Bobby.

The evening's programme also included footage from Sir Bobby's life, and his Desert Island Discs interview as well as filmed tributes from those who were unable to be there in person, including St Cuthberts Care patron Alan Shearer, England Manager Roy Hodgson, and a poignant message from Paul Gascoigne, who said that Sir Bobby had been like a second father to him.

In an after show party host, ITV's Ian Payne, commented that the wide variety of talent on show had left everyone a bit starstruck. He said that when Mark Knopfler had been on stage playing the Newcastle United standard Local Hero:
"I was surprised to turn to see Andre Villas-Boas filming it on his phone!"
"Hey, I'm a big fan," the Tottenham Manager said.

Thanks go to Virgin Money for sponsoring the event and to all the performers and the hundreds of people who attended the celebration evening, which marked not only Sir Bobby's life but fulfilled his dream staging an event such as this to raise money for good causes.

Proceeds from ticket sales, auction and bucket collections are to be shared between the Alan Shearer Foundation and the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation. Donations are still being received and the final sum raised will be announced over the coming weeks.