UK/Suffolk:David Beckham, Ant and Dec and Gary Linekar donate lots for Sir Bobby Robson auction

Sir Bobby's Breakthrough Online Auction Launch at the PFA Awards dinner in London Mick Mills, Chris

Sir Bobby's Breakthrough Online Auction Launch at the PFA Awards dinner in London Mick Mills, Chris Hollins, Gina Long, Mark Robson, PFA CEO Gordon Taylor and Alan Brazil - Credit: Andy Abbott

CELEBRITIES and stars from the sporting world were out in force last night to support a new campaign to raise £1million in memory of Sir Bobby Robson.

Sir Bobby’s Breakthrough Online Auction was unveiled at the Grosvenor Hotel, in London’s Park Lane, prior to the Professional Footballers’ Association awards dinner.

Led by PFA chief executive officer Gordon Taylor, along with former Ipswich Town chairman David Sheepshanks, and Richard Bevan, chief executive of the League Managers’ Association (LMA), a call was made to businesses and individuals to donate a prize to the auction in memory of Sir Bobby.

The auction, supported by the East Anglian Daily Times and its sister titles across the Archant group, will open for bids between October 12 and 27.

And the money raised will go towards supporting clinical trials for new cancer treatments, ongoing support of the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation and Breakthrough Breast Cancer, as well as Ipswich Hospital and West Suffolk Hospital, in Bury St Edmunds.

Mark Robson, one of Sir Bobby’s sons and part of the auction committee, said: “Sadly, cancer is likely to affect every one of us in one way or another and my family knows first hand the pain it can cause. That’s why we are so committed to continuing the work started by my father in supporting research for new treatments.

“My family and I are very grateful to everyone who has already contributed a prize and we continue to be astounded by the generosity of the businesses and individuals who get involved.”

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The online auction is being supported by Breakthrough Breast Cancer Patron, The Prince of Wales, major football and sports clubs globally, plus sporting bodies, and many other organisations.

Gina Long, the auction’s founder who is based in Bury St Edmunds, added: “I was lucky enough to know Sir Bobby and Lady Elsie for over 35 years.

“Sir Bobby was loved the world over and I wanted to create something very special to honour him and raise crucially-needed funds for the wonderful charities.

“The online auction is a fantastic platform that allows everybody to become involved in helping us raise crucial funds for the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation, Breakthrough Breast Cancer and the two Suffolk hospitals.

“We have been overwhelmed by the global support and want to encourage businesses and individuals to get involved by generously becoming a prize donor – it really will make the biggest difference in helping us to create what we think will be one of the most exciting and high-profile fundraisers of 2013.”

EADT editor Terry Hunt, a member of the fundraising committee, said: “The EADT is proud to be a major supporter of this initiative to raise £1m for Sir Bobby’s Foundation. Sir Bobby has legendary status in East Anglia thanks to his achievements with Ipswich Town, and it was typical of his inspirational personality that he should spearhead such an important campaign to help the battle against cancer, which he fought five times.’’

The auction is being supported by BT Sport and BT MyDonate, the Football Association, the PFA, LMA, and many celebrities and sports stars.

With many of the auction lots for 2013 still a closely-guarded secret, those interested in donating a prize need only see the list of those involved in 2011 to know the illustrious company they would be keeping.

Some of the star lots were Jose Mourinho’s FIFA Ballon D’Or 2010 World Coach of the Year Award Trophy, along with FC Barcelona donating two prizes to watch them training, meet the players, receive a signed shirt and being VIP guests at Camp Nou.

Sir Alex Ferguson, Josep “Pep” Guardiola, Andre Villas Boas, Alan Pardew, Arsene Wenger, Lewis Hamilton, Gary Lineker, Graeme Swann, David Beckham, and Ant and Dec were all fellow donators of lots.

Auction committee chairman Lance Bradley, managing director of Mitsubishi Motors UK, said: “Whether it’s a VIP football or sporting experience, a holiday, a year’s supply of chocolate, a luxury weekend break, unique one-off experiences, we need businesses and individuals to support us by donating prizes.

“Those who do will not only enjoy the association with some of the world’s biggest sporting names and exposure in our extensive marketing campaign, they will also have the satisfaction of knowing they are supporting cancer causes close to the hearts of Sir Bobby Robson and his family.”

For more information on how to donate, visit: www.sirbobbysbreakthrough.com

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