Sir Bobby Robson is still an iconic figure in the north-east and his reputation as one of football’s great men has only continued since his death in 2009.
One of the final things Sir Bobby did before he passed away was set up the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation, something he described as his “last and greatest team.”
In the ten years that has passed since the charity was formed, they have raised over £12 million and that money has been used to help find better ways to treat and detect cancer - it is truly a credit to our region to have the foundation represent us.
The foundation itself is based around one of Sir Bobby’s main philosophies - teamwork. Working within the NHS, the Foundation’s aim is to find more effective ways to detect and treat cancer and it does that by working in partnership with other leading charities and organisations.
As a fund within the Newcastle Hospitals NHS Charity, it 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.
Most recently, it made a contribution of £892,000 to fund the cutting-edge PROSPECT-NE genome sequencing project in Newcastle and £1 million to support the work of the new Wolfson Childhood Cancer Research Centre at Newcastle University.
Ahead of the Great North Run next month, Lady Elsie Robson said:
We’re very lucky to have George [Caulkin] as a Patron and we’re extremely proud of him.
His passion for the work we fund is always apparent. I know he’s putting his heart and soul into this running challenge, as he does with everything for our Foundation.
We wish George and all our wonderful Great North Runners all the very best with their final couple of weeks training. My family will be at the finish of the run to say thank you and to make sure everyone gets a well-deserved cup of tea.
George Caulkin has always represented the foundation since its inception in 2008. To mark its tenth year he has decided to undertake 10 marathons - yes he really is that fit! (You can donate on this link)
He has now completed seven of the 10 runs and has just three left before he can presumably retire from ever running again! His running season began in March with the Big Half in London and he most recently ran in July at the Northumberland Coastal Run.
Next month he will tackle the Great North Run, in October he will be running the Kielder half-marathon and he will finish off his marathon year by running the New York marathon in November.
He first participated in the Great North Run in 2009, the year Sir Bobby died, and he found himself overcome with emotion from the event:
I ran the Great North Run for the first time in the year of Sir Bobby’s death and was blown away by the emotion and camaraderie of the event, which is a showcase of everything brilliant about our region.
A decade later, being part of the best day of the North East calendar is still an overwhelming, beautiful experience and I’d recommend it to anybody. I always cry when I cross the line, because I associate it with him, but there’s pride and happiness in those tears, as well as sadness. Bobby would be so chuffed that people run in his name. I can’t wait.
Caulkin is on the final section of his marathon-year and, while injuries are playing their part, he is determined to finish his final three races.
By then, all being well, he will have completed 164 race miles and well over 1,000 training miles.
Running is a great way to stay fit, it helps keep me relatively sane and I thought this would be a fun and challenging way to mark the Foundation’s 10th birthday. It has definitely been challenging!
Mentally and physically, there have been some real highs and lows and I’ve been fretting about calf and knee problems, but I’m determined to get through it. Getting into New York is incredible and nerve-wracking, but the thought of representing Bobby there is very special. I’m so grateful for all the support and sponsorship. It means everything.
George has raised over £3,000, smashing his initial target of £1000 and you can still donate to the foundation on this link.