A CHRISTMAS card using artwork inspired by one of Sir Bobby Robson’s best-loved quotes is available for sale to benefit his cancer charity.

Created for the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation by Newcastle-based artist, Peter Francis, it shows two awe-struck children entering a football ground for the first time.

It appears alongside the words: “Without being able to do a thing about it, falling in love.”

The quote is taken from Sir Bobby’s final book, Newcastle: My Kind of Toon, in which he shared his great love for the North East and how his passion for football and Newcastle United began.

In the book, published in 2008, Sir Bobby also describes the launch of his cancer foundation, part of Newcastle Hospitals’ Charity, and how much it meant to him to be doing something, as he described it, “for my own folk.”

A self-taught artist, specialising in pastels, Mr Francis is renowned for nostalgic, warm and quirky pictures of the region.

He spent four days planning and creating the artwork, which he donated to the foundation.

Mr Francis said: “This is such a special quote for football fans and I wanted to create something that really reflected that.

“It’s not a picture of any particular football club as the sentiment of this quote is universal, but I have deliberately depicted an older looking ground because I wanted to give it a grassroots’ feel.”

“I’m very proud to be doing something to benefit for the work of the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation. He was a great man.

“My friend was receiving cancer treatment when I created this picture, so it’s a cause that’s close to my heart.”

Sir Bobby launched his foundation in 2008, the year before his death, and it has gone on to raise more than £16m to find more effective ways to detect and treat cancer.

Funding cutting-edge treatment and innovative cancer support services for both children and adults, work funded by foundation directly benefits patients in the North East and Cumbria, as well as playing a significant role nationally and internationally.

Sir Bobby’s son, Mark Robson, said: “I think Peter’s done an exceptional job and we’re thrilled with this artwork.

“It’s that wonderful moment, isn’t it?

“When you first go to the football and see that big, beautiful green expanse lit up in front of you and it’s almost overwhelming.

“That’s what Dad got over so well in that quote and why it speaks to people. “The real heart and soul of football.

“It’s such a lovely idea for our Christmas card.

“We’re grateful to Peter for his generosity and we hope the cards will be very popular.”

The artwork features on Christmas cards which are being sold in aid of the foundation via the Newcastle Hospitals’ Charity website, https://charity-shop.newcastle-hospitals.nhs.uk/collections/all/products/sir-bobby-robson-foundation-christmas-card-2021-pack-of-10, costing £6.50 for a pack of ten.

The quote which inspired Mr Francis, in full, is: “What is a club in any case? “Not the buildings, or the directors, or the people who are paid to represent it.

“It’s not the television contracts, get-out clauses, marketing departments or executive boxes.

“It’s the noise, the passion, the feeling of belonging, the pride in your city.

“It’s a small boy clambering up the stadium steps for the very first time, gripping his father’s hand, gawping at that hallowed stretch of turf beneath him, and without being able to do a thing about it, falling in love.”

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