By Liz Luff
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Sir Bobby’s Breakthrough Auction ended Sunday night (27 October) and, combined with the charity ball held last week in Suffolk, has raised £350,000 for cancer charities.
The online auction and text-to-win competition, backed by headline supporter BT Sport, was organised by a team of dedicated volunteers to raise funds for the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation, Breakthrough Breast Cancer and Suffolk Hospitals’ cancer services.
Over 300 auction lots included sports experiences and memorabilia, artworks, holidays, and ‘money can’t buy’ experiences like lunch with actor Bill Nighy, a behind-the-scenes tour of BBC’s Match of the Day and a private bowling session with Graeme Swann.
The most popular auction lot was lunch with Tottenham Hotspur manager Andre Villas-Boas, which raised an incredible £9,300.
Lady Elsie says: “We’re extremely grateful to everyone who has so supported 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.
“Special thanks must go to organiser Gina Long for her great commitment to the charity auction and ball. She has worked so hard and we’re very proud of all that she and her team have achieved.
“We’d like to thank everyone who donated or bid on an auction item. The money raised will help us continue the work Bob began when he launched this charity five years ago.”
Thanks to tremendous ongoing support, the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation continues to fulfil 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.
It has also part-funded the greatly valued complementary therapy programme, which provides relief from the symptoms of cancer and its treatment for patients at the Northern Centre for Cancer Care and jointly funded a cancer patient ambulance.
Early next year, thanks to the Foundation’s largest funding contribution to date, £850,000, the latest generation in stereotactic radiotherapy surgery will become available to cancer patients from across the North East and Cumbria. It will be used to treat tumours which are currently inoperable and delivers extremely high doses of radiation with pin-point accuracy.
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 a long way over the £300,000 mark and at least £100,000 more than we raised in our first year.
“It all shows the colossal amount of love and respect people have for Sir Bobby and his cancer charity. It also highlights the great desire so many of us share to beat cancer. And one day, if we continue to help fund the scientists and medical staff, we will.”
North East Sir Bobby’s Breakthough Auction lots included Middlesbrough FC, Sunderland AFC and Newcastle United related experiences and memorabilia, local artwork, a Go North East annual bus ticket, five year’s supply of Northumberland Tea and a fully restored and customised ‘Sir Bobby Robson’ safe dating from around 1909.
For more information, please visit www.sirbobbysbreakthrough.com