Suffolk/Essex: Graeme Swann urges people to back Sir Bobby’s Breakthrough Campaign

Graeme Swann during the nets session at Edgbaston Cricket Ground, Birmingham. PRESS ASSOCIATION Phot

Graeme Swann during the nets session at Edgbaston Cricket Ground, Birmingham. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Friday June 7, 2013. See PA story CRICKET England. Photo credit should read: Rui Vieira/PA Wire. RESTRICTIONS: Use subject to restrictions. Editorial use only. No commercial use. Call 44 (0)1158 447447 for further information. - Credit: PA

He is getting ready to bowl over the Australians.

Former Ipswich Town manager Sir Bobby Robson

Former Ipswich Town manager Sir Bobby Robson - Credit: Paul Kingston/North News

But cricketer Graeme Swann also has another target in his sights – helping to raise £1million in memory of football hero Sir Bobby Robson.

Sir Bobby's Breakthrough Online Auction

Sir Bobby's Breakthrough Online Auction - Credit: Archant

Sir Bobby, who led Ipswich Town to FA and UEFA cup glory during more than a decade in charge, died from cancer in 2009, aged 76.

The first Sir Bobby’s Breakthrough Campaign in 2011 brought in close to quarter of a million pounds for the Sir Bobby Foundation – to help support clinical trials for cancer treatment – and Breakthrough Breast Cancer.

And Swann, who in a few days time will be an integral part of England’s bid to retain the Ashes, claims he is “honoured ” to help the charities as they try and quadruple that figure.

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But the spin bowler, a committee member for Sir Bobby’s Breakthrough, said it will only be possible if EADT readers get involved – either by bidding on the online auction or taking part in the text-to-win competition where there is the chance to bag stunning prizes in return for a small donation.

He explains: “This is an unbelievable charity. There are so many people that are affected by cancer, They say it is one in three people that are directly affected, but let’s face it, even if it’s not someone in your immediate family there will a friend or neighbour who will be affected. “This is a chance to get some money out there to fundraise and really make a difference. If you can help in any way; if you can donate, please do, if you can take part in the online auction and make a difference in any way that you can – I urge everyone to do it.

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“I’m doing it, so everyone else can do it as well – no excuses.”

For the 34-year-old, like many others involved in the campaign, Sir Bobby has a special place in his heart. It was only the late intervention of Swann’s wife Sarah that prevented their son from being known as Wilfred Robert Robson.

Swann, a life-long Newcastle fan, said: “He was my hero, so I’m almost embarrassed when people say ‘Thank you for supporting this’, because it’s an honour for me to be asked in the first place and to be in a position to be able to help.

“I’ve been a Newcastle United fan since I was a kid and obviously Bobby Robson is everything great and good about the club. He was the manager through all the best times; he’s synonymous with the club. I was lucky enough to meet him not long before he passed away and I got goose bumps when I met him. He was a cracking bloke.”

The Sir Bobby’s Breakthrough Campaign has been backed by numerous sporting stars and Swann said the England Cricket Team all support what he’s doing.

He added: “Whatever I tell them to do, they do these days. I’m the old man of the team. They are all right behind it.”

The first Ashes test starts on Wednesday at Trent Bridge. “All the team are absolutely buzzing, we played in the week and you can just feel the excitement. I can’t wait - it’s why you play the game,” he said.

The off-spinner, who suffered a late injury scare after having his “arm blown off” by Essex bowler Tymal Mills in an Ashes warm up game last week, claims he’s now “raring to go”.

He adds: “Australia has got some great players and we’re going to have to be on top of our game to make sure we win. But I am confident that if we play well, we can win.”

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