And as birthday parties go, it doesn’t get much grander.
Sir Bobby Robson – A Celebration - was a fundraising night in honour of football’s first gentleman to mark what would have been his 80th birthday.
And it proved to be an especially poignant night for his wife, Lady Elsie, and three sons, Paul, Andrew and Mark.
Paul Robson: “I think he would have been really surprised.
“He wasn’t a boastful man but a humble person and would be looking down thinking ‘my god this amazing’, that this party is taking place.
“He will be looking down smiling upon us.”
In 2009 Sir Bobby began planning a fundraising gala to take place on his 80th birthday.
He sadly lost his fight against cancer that year, but close friend Alan Shearer, Lindisfarne legend Ray Laidlaw and producer Geoff Wonfor made the night a reality thanks to a stellar cast of performers.
Hosted by Jim Rosenthal and former Lindisfarne singer Billy Mitchell, guests were treated to three hours of amazing entertainment including music from the likes of Scarlet Street, The Unthanks, Faryl Smith, Russell Watson and Joe McElderry.
Mark Knopfler performed with Ruby Turner. Alistair McGowan had the whole of the hall in stitches with his repertoire of football characters, as did Paul Whitehouse and Simon Day with their skit on football management.
Football greats from every club he ever spent time with attended, including Sunderland manager Martin O’Neill, former Ipswich captain Mick Mills, NUFC boss Alan Pardew, Toon players Shola Ameobi and Steve Harper, former England and NUFC player Stuart Pearce and Andre Villas Boas, manager of Tottenham Hotspur.
Durham CCC’s Stephen Harmison and Hebburn actor and stand-up star Chris Ramsey, who was also there to support his girlfriend Rosie Winter, of Scarlet Street.
Opera star Russell Watson sang Land of Hope and Glory, said: “I was a big fan of Bobby’s to start with, for his managerial skills and also for what he stood for in the latter part of his life, he was struggling along with cancer and he just kept going.”
Mark Knopfler said: “It means a lot to me to be a part of this celebration. Thanks to the commitment and determination of Sir Bobby and the generosity of thousands of people in the North, the foundation has achieved an enormous amount in the fight against cancer. May it go from strength to strength.”
Source: Newcastle United Mad