Flight death fan’s charity legacy

Published: Tuesday 17th February 2015 by The News Editor

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Rare football memorabilia collected by a football superfan who was killed when flight MH17 was shot down will be auctioned off in aid of Sir Bobby Robson’s cancer charity

John Alder missed only one Newcastle United game, home or away, in 40 years and was travelling to New Zealand with friend Liam Sweeney to watch the Magpies play in a pre-season tournament when the plane was brought down over Ukraine in July.

The 63-year-old from Low Fell, Gateshead, amassed a large collection of mementoes from his football trips, and his home was full of boxes of carefully-stored match programmes.

Included in the items donated to the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation are a 1966 World Cup programme from England’s win over West Germany and the Holy Grail for Newcastle programme collectors – a very rare example from the 1970 Pecsi Dozsa v Newcastle United Fairs Cup tie.

The collection stretches back to 1924 FA Cup Final when Newcastle played Aston Villa, with United winning 2-0.

Also included in the 224 lots are pictures, books and tickets stubs, the programme from the last game he attended – a friendly against Oldham Athletic – and his one and only black and white scarf.

Auctioneers Anderson and Garland, who will hold the sale at St James’s Park on Sunday, estimate the collection is worth at least £18,000.

Mr Alder’s sister Joyce Robbins said: “This collection and following Newcastle United meant the world to John and we wanted to do something special with it.

“It wasn’t really practical to keep his collection together and the whole family agreed it should be donated to charity.

“We hope the people who buy the different lots treasure this memorabilia as John did. We’re very proud that John’s enthusiasm for football will go on to help other people through the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation.”

Fred Wyrley-Birch, auctioneer at Anderson and Garland said: “We’re very proud to be involved with this auction. It’s a huge responsibility and we hope John would approve of the way we’ve catalogued his wonderful collection.”

Sir Bobby started the foundation in 2008 as he battled cancer for the final time and his initial aim of raising £500,000 to equip a drug trials centre in Newcastle was reached in just seven weeks.

The total raised stands at more than £7.5 million, and it funds the early detection and better treatment for cancer.

Published: Tuesday 17th February 2015 by The News Editor

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