Stephen Harmison has praised the North East sporting community for once more pulling together in aid of Sir Bobby Robson.
The former England fast bowler is in his benefit year at Durham, and part of the proceeds will go to the late Sir Bobby’s foundation for the early detection and treatment of cancer.
Yesterday Harmison hosted a golf day at Slaley Hall.
A number of past and present Durham team-mates, led by captain and former Ashes colleague Paul Collingwood, showed their support, along with the likes of Alan Shearer, John Beresford, former Sunderland striker-turned-scout Bryan “Pop” Robson and ex-Newcastle Eagles basketball captain Andrew Bridge.
Former England cricketers Andrew Flintoff and Neil Fairbrother came from further afield.
“You’ve got to be pleased with the turn-out,” said Harmison. “As an event it’s exactly what we wanted. It’s a fantastic venue to have.
“To be honest, the people that have turned out are all North East-based people who enjoy their golf but have all come out to support what hopefully is a good worthwhile day. There’s balloons flying about, there’s the trick-shot guy, the ‘beat the pro’ competition and all the proceeds are going to charity.
“Everybody seems to be putting their hand in their pocket and doing it for the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation. For me it’s brilliant getting so many people coming up supporting me.
“It makes me feel really, really proud. It’s a special feeling.
“But I’ve always known North East people support North East people, so I’m not surprised.”
Former Newcastle United left-back Beresford praised Harmison for his charity work. “I’ve known Harmy for quite a while now,” he said. “I got to know him through the sporting aspect with him being a big Newcastle fan and over the years I’ve been involved in some charity dos with him.
“When you get to spend time with him socially you realise just how good a lad he is. He does a lot of good up in the North East and he handles himself brilliantly.
“You’ve just got to remember how good he was. He’s such a great lad, he’s got no airs or graces. I’ve seen him spend so much time with fans and I think that’s a bit of a dying art with sportsmen these days.”