THE widow of Sir Bobby Robson has given her heartfelt thanks to everyone who helped his cancer charity raise more than £5m.

The Sir Bobby Robson Foundation was set up five years ago today (Monday, March 25) to raise £500,000 for research in the North-East into ways of better detecting and fighting cancer.

But the cause’s total now stands at £5.2m.

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The football legend, who managed Newcastle, England, Ipswich and Barcelona, launched the foundation before his own death from cancer at aged 76.

Today the Robson family celebrated the charity's achievement at an event in Newcastle with foundation fund-raisers and patrons.

On breaking the £5m barrier, Lady Elsie Robson said: “It’s thrilling. It’s something we never thought would happen and here we are.

“It’s wonderful to be able to announce it and thank everyone who’s donated and fund-raised and given so whole-heartedly over the last five years.

“My greatest thrill is meeting such wonderful people through the charity - so warm and caring, - and otherwise these people might not cross my life.

“It’s hard to absorb what’s happened in the last five years. We’re astounded and so pleased with all the people who have donated. I’d just like to thank them so very, very much.”

Patron Steve Gibson, chairman of Midlesbrough FC, said: "Newcastle United was Bobby's football club but he also had a great affection for Sunderland and Middlesbrough and everybody here had a great respect for him.

"The idea of me becoming a patron of the Foundation was to unite the three big North East clubs, with Niall Quinn as Sunderland patron and Alan Shearer as Newcastle patron, and all of us treat it as an honour.

"I'd like to personally thank all the fundraisers who've done so much good work for the Foundation, especially those who have done so in our club's name, such as Boro fan Andy Clark and his friends, who have raised more than £45,000 by organising a series of annual charity football matches.

"The foundation has funded world-class cancer facilities in Newcastle that directly benefit cancer patients from across the region and which contribute to international efforts and research into fighting the disease.”