We are very lucky to have had Alan Shearer not just as a brilliant player for 10 years at Newcastle United  – but also as an ongoing force for good in the north east.

As a region that needs all the help it can get, it is invaluable to have ambassadors such as Shearer who are willing to put so much of their own time and money into positive action to make Tyneside and beyond, a much better place.

Tuesday has seen Alan Shearer formally recognised for his contribution to the north east, especially when it comes to charity work.

Newcastle United’s legendary number nine visiting Buckingham Palace to pick up a CBE from the Duke of Cambridge.

The former NUFC player launched the Alan Shearer Foundation in 2012 with cash from his testimonial, to provide support for disabled people.

Plus, as well as his own foundation, he also helps so many other good causes, such as the NSPCC and Sir Bobby Robson Foundation.

Alan Shearer:

“This has been a huge surprise.

“It reflects a lot of hard work from a lot of people.

“I had to give something back, that was very important.

“Footballers often get criticised these days for not giving enough back. I had my testimonial in 2006 and I used that money to set up my foundation and it has gone on from strength to strength.

“I was determined not just to hand the money over but to take an active part in it and help run it.”

The Newcastle United legend also took time out after receiving his award, to commend the bravery of those footballers, past and present, who are showing great courage to come forward and make public what has happened in the abuse of football players.

Alan Shearer:

“We feel very sorry for what’s happened to the guys and commend their bravery for coming forward, which hopefully will help others come forward as well.

“It hasn’t been a great period for football – but we have to commend the guys’ bravery.”