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31 July 2014, 05:47
On the fifth anniversary of Sir Bobby Robson's death his widow said he would be "astonished'' to know his cancer-fighting charity has now raised £7.3 million./
When the much-loved ex-England manager launched his foundation, the aim was to raise £500,000 but he wasn't confident of reaching that total.
Since he faced his fifth and final battle with cancer, wellwishers have continued to raise money in memory of the former Ipswich Town, Barcelona and Newcastle United boss.
The Sir Bobby Robson Foundation was set up after he was inspired by his oncologist Professor Ruth Plummer, who told him funding for research was needed.
In February 2009 he officially opened what became The Sir Bobby Robson Cancer Trials Research Centre at the Northern Centre for Cancer Care, Freeman Hospital in Newcastle.
The initial target was quickly reached and the fundraising has not stopped since.
Lady Elsie said:
"We've achieved more than we ever expected.
He was hesitant in the beginning about whether we'd raise the initial half a million we needed to help Professor Plummer, and some of his friends said 'yes, yes, yes, of course we will' but he had his own doubts.
Now, he would be astonished to know what we've achieved and what we've done with the money. It unites people who are interested in football and affected by cancer. It unites them somehow across our region and beyond.''
There was an outpouring of grief in his native North East, shared by many across the country, when he died on July 31 2009.
Lady Elsie said:
"It was difficult, very difficult for us all, for the family especially, and I suppose you just get through it.
You don't sort of understand until much, much later what it all meant.
The public responded in such a compassionate way and I think it was something they needed as well at that time.
It was wonderful to go and see the spread of flowers and tributes and memorabilia left at St James' Park.''