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Tyne Talk

Sir Bobby Robson’s Widow Gives Heartfelt Thanks To Sunderland & Newcastle Fans’ Outstanding Efforts

7 years ago

Lady Elsie, Sir Bobby Robson’s widow, has spoken on behalf of her late husband’s Foundation.

Reacting to donations that now top £23,000 via a fundraising initiative by Sunderland fan Gary Ferguson, Lady Elsie thanked the thousands of Sunderland, Newcastle and other teams’ supporters who have produced such an outstanding total.

After discussions with the families of Liam Sweeney and John Alder, all donations will be split equally between the Marie Curie Hospice in Newcastle and the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation, with only the initial £200 raised going to pay for a floral tribute to the pair.

This is the official statement from the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation;

Newcastle United fans Liam Sweeney and John Alder were tragically killed on flight MH17, en route to watch their team play in a pre-season tour of New Zealand.

On hearing about the disaster and loss of the two Newcastle United supporters, Sunderland fan Gary Ferguson (from South Shields) began a collection to raise £100 for floral tributes to the pair.

Incredibly, at the time of writing, the total raised is over £23,000 (10am Monday) with generous donations from fans of Sunderland, Newcastle United and other clubs.

After talking to John and Liam’s families, the additional money will be given to two charities – the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation and Marie Curie Cancer Care.

Commenting on behalf of the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation, Lady Elsie said:

“Like everyone, I was shocked and upset when I heard about flight MH17 and the awful loss of life.

“I can’t begin to understand what John and Liam’s family and friends are going through.  It’s so hard to comprehend something as terrible as this.

“You often see the best of people in the worst of times and that’s certainly true of the Sunderland fans who organised this collection in tribute to John and Liam.  They, and everyone who has donated to it, are a credit to football and to the North East.

“It’s a very thoughtful way to pay tribute to two men who obviously loved the game so much.”

To make a donation to this tribute fund, or view messages of support, please visit:

Sir Bobby launched his Foundation in 2008.  It funds projects, including the clinical trials of new drugs, that directly benefit patients from across the North East and Cumbria and which contribute significantly to international research into cancer.

For more information, please visit

***Family and friends of John and Liam will gather next to the Sir Bobby Robson statue outside St.James’ Park at 12 noon today (Monday) to pay their respects to the two men, all fans are welcome to attend.


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