SIR Bobby Robson’s off-pitch achievements are going from strength to strength with the foundation which bears his name.
Dad-of-four Peter Marfitt-Smith, who was diagnosed with skin cancer five years ago, is among those who have benefited from its work.
The 64-year-old, who owns a pub in Blyth, Northumberland, is taking part in clinical trials of new drugs at the Sir Bobby Robson Cancer Trials Research Centre based at Newcastle’s Freeman Hospital.
He said: “When I had the blister removed in hospital I thought that was the end of it, although I did keep returning for check-ups.
“Unfortunately it came back rather aggressively. The doctors thought it had gone to my brain so it looked like I might only have a month left. It was like I had been reborn when I found out it hadn’t.”
Peter, of Stannington, near Morpeth, said: “It has been a rollercoaster. The Bobby Robson Cancer Trials Research Centre has given me an avenue of hope which I didn’t have before and didn’t think would be possible.
“I can finally see a little bit of daylight again. For me it is a win-win situation and I feel very fortunate to be able to access all the facilities. The centre is unique, the staff and support each patient gets is fantastic.”
Retired plumber Terry Williams was diagnosed with renal cell cancer 10 years ago, after doctors found a large growth on his kidney.
The 57-year-old father-of-one was told that there was little doctors could do to treat him and now he is taking part in clinical trials.
Terry, who lives with wife Sue in Stockton, Teesside, said: “The Sir Bobby Robson Cancer Trials Research Centre is the bee’s knees and I was so pleased to have been transferred here. I was over the moon when I found out.
“It is an absolute honour and if it is good enough for Sir Bobby then it is good enough for me. Even if it doesn’t help me prolong my life, hopefully I can do my bit and help others in the future.”
Centre director Prof Ruth Plummer said more than double the number of patients had come through the door than the year before.
She said: “We have had a very positive year and it has been very exciting. The patients are just amazing. We see people who know they can’t be cured but they make this unit.
“All of us feel very lucky to have a regional cancer care unit thanks to Sir Bobby Robson.
“The amount made through fundraising has been fantastic and all we can say is a massive thank you to everyone who has shown their support.”