Fantastic result for Sir Bobby’s Auction and Ball

FUNDRAISERS are celebrating today after raising more than �200,000 for two major cancer charities.

The final total raised by the Sir Bobby’s Breakthrough Auction was a massive �150,000, with more than �50,700 added from a charity ball held at the Apex, in Bury St Edmunds.

The initiative, the brainchild of Suffolk woman Gina Long and supported by the East Anglian Daily Times, has been hailed an outstanding success and members of the organising committee gathered to watch the final bids come in before the online auction, which has received national and worldwide publicity, came to a close last night.

Topping the bidding of the 146 lots left on the site was Jose Mourinho’s FIFA Ballon D’Or World Coach of the Year Award Trophy at �26,000 followed by the FC Barcelona experience which raised �12,100.

It has been a remarkable achievement for the organisers with the money raised going jointly to the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation and Breakthrough Breast Cancer in memory of the football icon and breast cancer campaigner Sally Balch.

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Bobby’s widow, Lady Elsie Robson, said: “Sir Bobby’s Breakthrough Auction has taken a tremendous amount of effort to achieve. My family and I are extremely grateful to Gina Long for her vision, hard work and enthusiasm in creating this ambitious charity venture.

“We’re also very appreciative of all the many people who have pitched in and helped by volunteering their time, expertise and incredible auction prizes.

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“When my husband and I launched our charity in 2008 Bob said he felt like he was at the helm of a team again – what he called his last and greatest team – and taking on a challenge far greater than any football match.

“We began with the aim to equip a centre to trial new cancer drugs and we’ve been able to fulfil that ambition and do so much more.

“Our medical trustees are always looking for the next breakthrough, the next promising investment into cancer equipment or training, always looking to fulfil Bob’s ambition to provide truly world-class facilities for others fighting cancer.

“Sadly cancer affects us all in one way or another, but with us all pulling together, one day we will beat it.”

Mrs Long said: “This has been a magnificent success – all made possible because of enormous love, respect and the way many clubs wanted to honour Sir Bobby Robson, who I was so privileged to call a great friend.

“The support from auction prizes donors, sponsors, individuals, companies and the wonderful bidders have helped make it a huge success – one beyond our wildest dreams.

“I did this in memory of Sir Bobby and my beautiful friend Sally Balch who lost her battle with breast cancer. I hope we have made them very proud and done them justice.”

The ball, which was held on Thursday, was attended by Lady Elsie Robson and Sir Bobby Robson Foundation patrons Mick Mills and Delia Smith. All other funds were raised through the online auction which featured 188 lots including television, driving and sporting experiences and memorabilia, luxury treats and holidays.

It was supported by all Sir Bobby’s former teams, all the Premier League clubs, Celtic and Rangers and by representatives from rugby, horse racing, snooker, tennis, cricket and more. Gary Lineker, Denise Welch, Ant and Dec, Katherine Jenkins, Graeme Swann, Sir Alex Ferguson, Arsene Wenger, Andre Villas-Boas, Harry Redknapp and Fabio Capello were among those who donated prizes and helped make the auction such a success.

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