Bobby Robson tributes sent to world's poor

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The Independent Online

Football shirts, scarves and flags left in tribute to Sir Bobby Robson after his death will now go on to spread a love of the game among disadvantaged people across the world.

Fans at Sir Bobby's former clubs, Newcastle United, Ipswich Town, West Bromwich Albion and Fulham, left about 6,000 items of football memorabilia in an outpouring of affection and respect for the former England manager who died in July.

Andrew Robson, Sir Bobby's son, said: "My whole family was incredibly touched at the scenes that followed dad's death.

"I took my two daughters to see the display of thousands of shirts and scarves at St James' Park and it was truly amazing.

"There were so many personal messages dedicated to his memory. It was very moving - overwhelming really.

"My family and dad's former clubs didn't want to see any of that memorabilia go to waste.

"With help from charities who specialise in this type of activity all the football shirts, scarves and flags which were laid with such respect will now go on to inspire a love of football all over the world."

Three charities, Coaches Across Continents, KitAid and the RAF's Taking Football to Africa and Beyond Appeal, will distribute the tribute items in Eastern Europe, Asia, South America and Africa.

Mr Robson added: "I understand that receiving a football shirt can sometimes double the wardrobe of the recipient, which underlines the importance of getting them to where they are most needed.

"We're pleased they will go on to bring pleasure to so many people. I think dad would have appreciated knowing that people thousands of miles away from his home will now be wearing English football shirts and scarves."

The tribute items are currently being stored at Ushaw College, which is close to Langley Park in County Durham, where Sir Bobby grew up and where he began his working life as an apprentice electrician down the pit.

The majority comes from St James' Park where more than 2,500 shirts and 2,300 scarves were laid in remembrance during the 11 days the club was open for fans to pay their respects.

Representing a wide range of clubs, including a significant number of shirts and scarves from fans of Sunderland and Middlesbrough football clubs, these items were laundered free of charge by Sunlight Laundry at Bishop Auckland in County Durham.

In addition to heartfelt messages in tribute to Sir Bobby, more than £30,000 was donated to the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation by fans visiting St James' Park during this time.

Newcastle United, Ipswich Town and West Bromwich Albion raised almost £80,000 between them for the charity, while the Football Association also donated £80,000 in Sir Bobby's memory, which was a percentage of the gate receipts from this season's Community Shield.

The Sir Bobby Robson Foundation recently broke through the £2 million mark and focuses on the early detection of cancer and the clinical trials of drugs and treatments to beat the disease.

It has already equipped the Sir Bobby Robson Cancer Trials Research Centre, funded a specialist research nurse and doctor and provided a children's waiting area at the Northern Centre for Cancer Care in Newcastle.

The charity is now looking into funding more effective ways of monitoring drug delivery to areas of the body affected by cancer.