John Alder Collection Auctioned For £26,000

23 February 2015, 06:00

The memorabilia of the Newcastle fan, who was killed on flight MH17, has raised £26,000 for The Sir Bobby Robson Foundation.

Bidders from across the UK and as far afield as Singapore, Dubai and Vancouver vied for the lots.

The top two lots were secured by a Newcastle resident.

John Alder, from Low Fell, was one of 298 people whose lives were tragically cut short when Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 was shot down over Ukraine in July last year.

Along with fellow fan, Liam Sweeney, he was travelling to New Zealand to watch Newcastle United play in a pre-season tournament.

An incredibly dedicated football supporter, John missed just one Newcastle United game, home and away, in 40 years. He was also an avid collector of football memorabilia and his home was full of boxes of carefully stored match programmes.

John's family very kindly donated the collection to help the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation and, with the generous support of Anderson and Garland Auctioneers and Newcastle United, it was auctioned at St James' Park.

Thousands of match programmes, tickets and books went under the hammer, dating from 1920s to the present day.

Joyce Robbins, John's sister, says:
"We've got mixed emotions today really.

This collection was so precious to John. I don't think even he would know what we should do with it. It was his passion.

When we first went to the house after he died we got a shock. We knew he was collecting but it seemed to have spread all over the house. We were a bit overwhelmed and didn't know what to do with it all. My daughter suggested we donate it to charity and the rest of the family.

I'm very touched that people have got behind this auction and stunned by all the help we've received."

Lady Elsie says:
"We're very proud that John's family donated his marvellous collection to the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation.

It was a hugely generous and thoughtful gesture and the money raised will go on to help other people through the charity.

I know today was bitter sweet for John's family. We're very grateful to them and to everyone who has contributed to making this auction such a success."

John's extensive collection included match programmes from the 1924 onwards which he sought from other collectors as well a tremendous volume of programmes and tickets from games he attended over 40 years following Newcastle United.

These include rarities from pre-season friendly fixtures, like Newcastle United's tour of Southern Africa during 1952, to John's one and only NUFC scarf.

Key lots included match memorabilia from NUFC fixtures including:

* 1924 Newcastle United v Aston Villa FA Cup Final £3,200
* John Alder's match scarf £200 - purchased by his family
* 1970 Pecsi Dozsa v Newcastle United Fairs Cup tie £1,800
* Final Lot (number 224) Oldham v Newcastle United match programme £240 - purchased by his family.

This match programme from Newcastle United's pre-season friendly at Oldham Athletic on 15th July 2014 was the final game John attended.

UPDATED 17th February 2015

Rare football memorabilia collected by a Newcastle United superfan who was killed when flight MH17 was shot down will be auctioned off in aid of Sir Bobby Robson's cancer charity.

John Alder missed only one Newcastle United game, home or away, in 40 years and was travelling to New Zealand with friend Liam Sweeney to watch the Magpies play in a pre-season tournament when the plane was brought down over Ukraine in July.

The 63-year-old from Low Fell, Gateshead, amassed a large collection of mementos from his football trips, and his home was full of boxes of carefully-stored match programmes.

Included in the items donated to the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation are a 1966 World Cup programme from England's win over West Germany and the Holy Grail for Newcastle programme collectors - a very rare example from the 1970 Pecsi Dozsa v Newcastle United Fairs Cup tie.

The collection stretches back to 1924 FA Cup Final when Newcastle played Aston Villa, with United winning 2-0.

Also included in the 224 lots are pictures, books and tickets stubs, the programme from the last game he attended - a friendly against Oldham Athletic - and his one and only black and white scarf.

Auctioneers Anderson and Garland, who will hold the sale at St James's Park on Sunday, estimate the collection is worth at least £18,000.

Mr Alder's sister Joyce Robbins said:
"This collection and following Newcastle United meant the world to John and we wanted to do something special with it.

It wasn't really practical to keep his collection together and the whole family agreed it should be donated to charity.

We hope the people who buy the different lots treasure this memorabilia as John did. We're very proud that John's enthusiasm for football will go on to help other people through the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation.''

Sir Bobby started the foundation in 2008 as he battled cancer for the final time and his initial aim of raising £500,000 to equip a drug trials centre in Newcastle was reached in just seven weeks.

The total raised stands at more than £7.5 million, and it funds the early detection and better treatment for cancer.

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