Sir Bobby Robson's widow become president of grassroots club he helped save (From The Northern Echo)
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Lady Elsie accepts title after Tow Law Town FC raises £4,100 for Sir Bobby Robson Foundation
THE widow of Sir Bobby Robson has become president of a grassroots football club that he once helped to save from financial ruin.
Tow Law Town FC, in County Durham, faced one of its hardest times when supporter numbers and gate receipts fell during the foot-and-mouth crisis of 2001, so club stalwart Charlie Donaghy invited Sir Bobby, then Newcastle United manager, to a fundraising talk-in at the Ironworks Road ground.
The memorable event was repeated two years later and the money raised helped to keep the club afloat, with Sir Bobby becoming its Vice President.
On Friday night, Lady Elsie Robson was guest of honour at the football club to receive £4,100 raised by its members for the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation and to officially rename the facility’s bar The Sir Bobby Robson Bar.
It was during the event that she was asked to become the club’s president.
Mr Donaghy, who recently received The Northern Echo’s Local Heroes award for his contribution to grassroots sport, said: “I first met Sir Bobby when he officially opened The Northern League Club at Tow Law.
“We looked after him well that day and he promised me he’d help us if ever we needed it.
“And Sir Bobby really did help save this club.
“We were in terrible straits and the money raised from his talk in made a tremendous difference.
“He stayed all night.
“In fact, he stayed so late Lady Elsie rang up to check with his Newcastle United colleague Charlie Woods to see how the night was going.
“It was wonderful and I think he enjoyed it as much as we did. We’ve always been grateful for his help.”
The money was raised through a penalty competition involving junior members, a raffle, and a sponsored walk by Mr Donaghy, who has mobility problems.
He also donated his £500 Local Heroes award prize money to the foundation.
Lady Elsie said: “I would like to say thank you from our hearts to Charlie and everyone at Tow Law Town for raising so much money for the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation.
“We are very grateful.
“I was honoured to be offered the chance to become president of the club and I was proud to accept.”
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