How Sir Bobby’s legacy lives on in cancer charity
DURING the latter part of his life, Sir Bobby Robson worked hard towards a new goal of fighting cancer through his charity. Health Reporter HELEN RAE spoke to the oncologist who he helped set up a pioneering cancer trials research centre.
In addition to equipping the centre, the charity has funded a specialist research nurse and doctor at the centre and enhanced a children’s waiting area at the Northern Centre for Cancer Care.
It also contributed tens of thousands of pounds to the new Teenage Cancer Unit at Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary.
Prof Plummer said: “Even when he was poorly he always told everybody he was all right and asked how they were.
“He was very inspirational while he was on the unit. He had good scan results and bad scan results but he tried to make everything as easy as possible for other people, he didn’t think about himself.
“Even when we were talking about fairly bleak things his joke would be he’d say to me ‘so, I’m I still going to the match on Saturday?’. He just turned things around and made it into a joke.”
Prof Plummer added: “When he passed away it was a really sad day for us at the research centre.
“We knew how poorly he was. We had seen him at the football match at the weekend and Lady Elsie had said to me ‘we won’t be back’ because we all knew how ill he was. She rang me before 9am to say that he had died so that I didn’t hear it in the press.”
Support for the foundation is as strong as ever and, with the help of patrons within the region and in Suffolk, where Sir Bobby enjoyed success as manager of Ipswich Town, the future is bright.
Now the mantle has been passed to his widow Lady Elsie Robson and their three sons Paul, Andrew and Mark who are all equally committed to its success.
Prof Plummer said: “Lady Elsie and Sir Bobby had a very good partnership in marriage and it was together they battled his cancer, as they did everything else.
“She and her sons have continued to be very involved in the Foundation and they are proud of what has been achieved.
“Within a week of Sir Bobby’s funeral, Lady Elsie rang up and said she wanted to come and meet me to talk about how they took the Foundation forward and what she wanted to do about it.
“She’s always been very keen that this was something she and the three sons would do. I think Sir Bobby would be overwhelmed and excited about the options we now have in cancer research.”