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Remembering Sir Bobby 10 years on

PUBLISHED: 08:54 31 July 2019 | UPDATED: 14:45 31 July 2019

Sir Bobby Robson, who died in 2009, with staff from the Newcastle Hospitals NHS Trust and his oncologist Professor Ruth Plummer (right) who helped set up the cancer-fighting charity that is still saving lives ten years on Picture: SIR BOBBY ROBSON FOUNDATION/PA WIRE

Sir Bobby Robson, who died in 2009, with staff from the Newcastle Hospitals NHS Trust and his oncologist Professor Ruth Plummer (right) who helped set up the cancer-fighting charity that is still saving lives ten years on Picture: SIR BOBBY ROBSON FOUNDATION/PA WIRE

Ten years ago today Ipswich Town - and the footballing world - lost one of its brightest stars in Sir Bobby Robson.

Professor Ruth Plummer (left) and Lady Elsie Robson (right) at the 10th anniversary of the Sir Bobby Robson Cancer Trials Research Centre Picture: SIR BOBBY ROBSON FOUNDATION/PA WIREProfessor Ruth Plummer (left) and Lady Elsie Robson (right) at the 10th anniversary of the Sir Bobby Robson Cancer Trials Research Centre Picture: SIR BOBBY ROBSON FOUNDATION/PA WIRE

When Sir Bobby took over the reins at Portman Road in 1969, no one expected he would have etched the town's name in the history books. But he did.

In his 13-year tenure, the legend from County Durham led the Blues to FA Cup and UEFA Cup glory - defeating the likes of Barcelona and Real Madrid as Sir Bobby cemented the town's place in European legend, with an undefeated home record yet to be beaten.

As the biopic of his life says - he was more than a manager.

And on July 31, 2009, the same footballing world which idolised him stood still.

Former Ipswich Town manager Sir Bobby Robson died of lung cancer in 2009 Picture: MICHAEL STEPHENS/PAFormer Ipswich Town manager Sir Bobby Robson died of lung cancer in 2009 Picture: MICHAEL STEPHENS/PA

After battling cancer since 1992 - with five diagnoses - Robson died of lung cancer at the age of 76.

His statue stands proud outside of Portman Road, where the former North Stand was renamed in his honour. At his other love in Newcastle, his statue stands tall at St James' Park.

Outside of the stadiums he graced, Sir Bobby's legacy continues to inspire and support others through the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation.

The work of the cancer-fighting charity he set up in 2008 - the year before he died from a fifth bout of cancer - continues to save lives by funding trials and research.

Sir Bobby intended it to raise £500,000 to equip a cancer drug trials centre in Newcastle and that target was reached in just eight weeks.

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His foundation has now raised £13.5 million, with £12.2 million of that coming in since his tragic death.

Sir Bobby's wife Lady Elsie said: "We've all missed him a great deal and still do. All the family, and his friends of course.

Bobby Robson celebrates after Ipswich beat West Brom to secure a spot in the FA Cup Final Picture: OWEN HINES/ARCHANTBobby Robson celebrates after Ipswich beat West Brom to secure a spot in the FA Cup Final Picture: OWEN HINES/ARCHANT

"I've found the Foundation very helpful in that respect. It was something Bob was very passionate about and it's given us all a focus. For myself especially, because I really do enjoy all the events and the people I meet through the charity.

"Many people are in a similar position to me because of cancer and it's good to feel part of something so special. I know Bob felt that, too. After he launched the charity, he truly felt like he was a manager again and that he had a job to do.

"We were married for 54 years and did a lot together. It was sometimes challenging, and we moved house 27 times as football took him around Europe, but it was always interesting.

"And he was very supportive of me and my career, too. It was natural to him that I should want to work and I was a nurse, then a teacher and a small business owner, as well as bringing up the boys. Then I suppose we both reached an age when you're supposed to relax but that wasn't really in his nature. Even though he was ill, he was determined to set up this charity and he was extremely proud of it.

Bobby Ferguson with Charlie Woods, Bobby Robson and Ron Gray with the FA Cup. Picture: OWEN HINESBobby Ferguson with Charlie Woods, Bobby Robson and Ron Gray with the FA Cup. Picture: OWEN HINES

"It's amazed me how much we've been able to do through the Foundation. The support just hasn't let up and our medical trustees keep us moving forwards and make sure we're making the right decisions.

"I'm so grateful to everyone who has continued to fundraise for us and to help find better ways to detect and treat cancer. Bob would be absolutely amazed at everything we've done. And he'd want us to keep at it.

"What stands out most to me after 10 years is that the love and respect people have for Bob doesn't seem to have diminished at all."

Within the NHS, the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation works in partnership with other leading charities and organisations and funds ground-breaking cancer treatment and innovative patient care and support services.

At its heart of it is the Sir Bobby Robson Cancer Trials Research Centre at the Northern Centre for Cancer Care in the Freeman Hospital, Newcastle.

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