While the result on the pitch will only have pleased one set of supporters, yesterday’s Sir Bobby Robson Day at Portman Road was something fans of Ipswich Town and Newcastle United could all celebrate.
As well as remembering a manager who is closely linked with both clubs, the day raised money for the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation. Guests of honour on the pitch included Sir Bobby’s family and both teams warmed up wearing Sir Bobby Robson Foundation t-shirts.
And fundraising for the charity continues today as the Hike4Hopey challenge got underway from Portman Road.
Hike4Hopey is a 333 mile walk from Sir Bobby’s statue in Ipswich to Sir Bobby’s statue at St James’ Park, Newcastle.
The group of nine set off on the epic hike today (Tuesday 18th April), walking and fundraising in memory of Control Firefighter, Lee Hope, who died from cancer last year aged just 33.
Lady Elsie first met Scott and Amy in Newcastle not long after Lee died to thank them for the many donations made to the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation in memory of Lee.
She was very glad to meet up with them again yesterday, before the match at Portman Road, to wish them well with their challenge.
Lady Elsie says: “We’re extremely proud of Amy, Scott and all of the walkers. Not only for taking on such a difficult challenge to raise funds for our Foundation, but for doing this so soon after losing Lee.
“Cancer is a cruel disease and never more so than when it takes someone young and full of life.
“Ipswich to Newcastle, and vice versa, is a journey I know extremely well. It’s a very long way and I can’t imagine doing it on foot.
“I wish all the walkers the very best of luck and hope the weather is kind to them.
“Every penny they raise will help us find more effective ways to detect and treat cancer and we’re grateful to everyone who is supporting them.”
Lee Hope was father to Livia and was a huge Newcastle United fan. Originally from Longbenton, he moved to Guernsey in 2010.
His brother, Scott, also works with the Fire and Rescue Service and explains why they’re taking on the challenge.
Scott, a Firefighter Control from North Shields, says: “I’ve done as much as 27 miles in training but day one is 32 miles. I’ve never walked that far so I am nervous about it.
“Lee was a bit of a larger than life character. He’d think we are genuinely crazy for doing this and not a sponsored pub crawl. I think he’d also be very proud.”
Hike4Hopey fundraising has also included a bike ride and family fun day and has already raised over £10,000. They are receiving tremendous support from Fire and Rescue Services throughout the country and will be staying at Fire Stations during the challenge.
Sir Bobby Robson launched his Foundation in 2008 and it has gone on to raise over £10 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.
Most recently, the charity made a £1million contribution to fund clinical research and nursing posts at the new Wolfson Childhood Cancer Research Centre at Newcastle University.
To donate to the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation through #Hike4Hopey, please visit: www.justgiving.com/Hike4Hopey