Every year, a group of friends from Sunniside, Whickham and further afield come together to raise money for the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation with a cycling challenge called Three Days for Bobby.

This is their 10th fundraising ride, so they decided to make it extra special by cycling between two of Sir Bobby’s former clubs, St James’ Park, home of Newcastle United, and PSV Eindhoven in the Netherlands.

Their 200 mile route includes Sir Bobby’s County Durham birthplace, Sacriston, before cycling to the coast to catch a DFDS ferry from North Shields to transport them to Ijmuiden in the Netherlands. They will then cycle down the coast and head inland to Dordrecht before finishing at PSV Eindhoven’s iconic Philips Stadion on Friday (29 July).

Over the years, the group have raised more than £50,000 for the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation, which is part of Newcastle Hospitals Charity and a cause that is extremely close to their hearts.

Stephen Hay organises Three Days for Bobby each year and cycles along with his brothers, Graham and Kevin.

Stephen, a Northumbrian Water Treatment Supervisor from Sunniside, explains why this year’s Three Days for Bobby has taken on such special meaning.

Stephen says: “This was always going to be a special ride because it’s our tenth, but it’s become really important to me and my family because my dad, Peter, passed away earlier this year with glioblastoma multiforme (a brain cancer).

“Dad was involved in a lot of our rides and one of his oldest friends, Graham, has come up from Leeds to do this year’s ride in his place. We also lost a very special woman called Silvia a few weeks ago, also to cancer, so we’ll be riding with the two of them in our minds.

“That’s why the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation is so important to us and why we want to support its work.”

The Three Days for Bobby cyclists set off from St James’ Park today (27 July) and Sir Bobby Robson Foundation Patron, Steve Harper, was on hand to see them off.

Steve, Newcastle United Academy Director, says: “I know Sir Bobby would be passionately supportive of these cyclists and I can almost hear him talking to them about their bikes, what they’re wearing and giving them tips.

“He was so passionate about everything in life and he left a brilliant footprint on football but his greatest legacy is his wonderful cancer Foundation. And you can feel that today when you see twenty odd guys of all different shapes, sizes, ages and abilities, all getting on their bikes and challenging themselves to help raise some money.”

Sir Bobby became manager of PSV Eindhoven in 1990 after taking England to a World Cup semi-final. He went on to lead the club to two Eredivisie (league) titles.

Steve adds: “It’s a great touch to be cycling from Newcastle to Eindhoven and we’re grateful to PSV for supporting this group by giving them access to the stadium when they arrive. That just shows the positive impact Sir Bobby had everywhere he went.

“Cancer touches far too many families and I’m sure everyone on this ride will have their own reasons for wanting to take part. That will definitely help them put ‘fuel in the tank’ as they go and I wish them all the very best.”

Sir Bobby Robson launched his Foundation in 2008 and it has gone on to raise over £16m to help find more effective ways to detect and treat cancer, working within the NHS and in partnership with other leading charities and organisations.

Work funded by the Foundation directly benefits cancer patients in the North East and Cumbria and plays a significant role in the international fight against the disease – funding cutting-edge cancer treatment and innovative cancer support services, including the clinical trials of new drugs.

To sponsor the Three Days for Bobby cyclists, please visit: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/3daysforbobby2022