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Steve Harper becomes a Sir Bobby Robson Foundation patron

Steve Harper, the former Newcastle United goalkeeper, has been announced as a patron of the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation.

He is the first new patron of the charity since Lady Elsie asked friends from within football, including Niall Quinn, Alan Shearer and Steve Gibson, for their help following Sir Bobby's death.

Harper - who spent 20 seasons at St. James' Park - played under the legendary ex-Magpies manager, and his 2013 charity match between Newcastle United and AC Milan legends raised £327,833 for six North East charities, including the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation.

Harper said: "I'm proud, honoured and moved to become a patron of Sir Bobby's Foundation. I've been involved in various ways since the launch of the charity so to become a fully fledged patron is special.

"Sir Bobby has left us a wonderful football legacy but the legacy he left us with his Foundation continues to grow and I know he'd be immensely proud of it.

"He had an amazing, infectious personality. Anything I can do to help and continue to build the great Sir Bobby Robson's legacy is a privilege for me, and I feel immensely proud."

The announcement was made at an informal get-together with Foundation fundraisers hosted by Lady Elsie Robson and her son, Andrew Robson.

Sir Bobby Robson launched his Foundation in 2008 and it has gone on to raise over £11 million to find more effective ways to detect and treat cancer.

The work funded directly benefits cancer patients in the North East and Cumbria and plays a significant role in the international fight against the disease.

Working within the NHS, the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation does not employ professional fundraisers to proactively raise money and relies completely on third party, volunteer fundraisers and the incredible generosity of the general public.

Lady Elsie said: "Steve's been absolutely unwavering in his support for Bob's charity from day one. He's always been there when we've needed him.

"More than that, he's always had a great appreciation and understanding of the importance of the work we're helping to fund.

"As a family, very soon after Bob died, we decided to keep going with the charity. We could see the good that it was doing and we all knew how important it was to Bob. He called it his legacy. 

"So I asked a small number of friends if they could help out by becoming patrons and, thankfully, they all said yes. We're very lucky to have their ongoing support.

"That was back in 2009 and over the years Steve has done so much to support us, publicly and privately, that somehow it didn't feel right that he wasn't also a patron.

"He has such a close connection to Bob and he's such a wonderful man, so thoughtful and understanding.

"Like Bob, he's a County Durham lad and he has a marvellous character. You can see that when he's talking with fundraisers and people affected by cancer.

"We're very grateful to Steve, and all our wonderful patrons. I know Bob would be very proud to have him back in his team, 'officially,' as it were."

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