AS the decade draws to a close, Sir Bobby Robson’s family has been reflecting on ten years of the late football manager’s cancer charity in the North-East.

The former Newcastle and England boss’s widow, Lady Elsie, said there have been significant achievements for the charity, including a ‘first’ in childhood cancer research.

Sir Bobby Robson launched his foundation in 2008, a year before he died from the disease aged 76, and it has gone on to raise over £13.5 million to find more effective ways to detect and treat cancer by working within the NHS and with other leading charities and organisations.

Lady Elsie said: “This has been a very special year for our foundation and I know Bob would be very proud of everything we’ve achieved together.

“We’ve done a lot of good in the last decade and Bob would be the first person telling us to keep at it. We’ve backed some important bowel cancer research this year and were very pleased to see a breakthrough in one of the most common childhood cancers as a result of specialist equipment our foundation funded.

“That all of this ground-breaking research is happening here in the North-East, within our wonderful NHS, and with the fantastic support of local cancer patients, is a source of pride for me and my family.

“I hope it is for every one of our supporters, too.”

In February this year, Sir Bobby’s family were joined by staff and patients to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the Sir Bobby Robson Cancer Trials Research Centre at the Northern Centre for Cancer Care at the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle.

The foundation also funds training posts for a specialist clinical trials doctor and nurse within the centre, which is busier than ever and now sees around 300 new patients every year, all helping to improve the treatment and diagnosis of cancer and study the effects of new drugs for the benefit of this generation and generations to come.

In June, a ground-breaking £985,000 cancer research and treatment project was announced by the foundation, which aims to reverse the region’s high incidence and low survival rates of bowel cancer.

The Colorectal Cancer Screening Prevention Endoscopy and Early Diagnosis project, or COLO-SPEED, is enabling 17 regional NHS endoscopy units to recruit up to 5,000 patients a year to help speed up research into the disease.

In October, Newcastle University announced they had made a breakthrough in understanding neuroblastoma, one of the most common forms of childhood cancer, using specialist equipment funded by the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation six years ago.

The research equipment, an ImageStream Imaging Flow Cytometer, was funded in 2013 with a grant of £438,000 and allows scientists to see cancer cells that may be circulating in a patient’s blood.

It has proved crucial for experts researching neuroblastoma, a rare type of cancer of the nervous system that mainly affects babies and young children.

Lady Elsie said: “I’d like to thank everyone who has helped us.”