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Support for specialist cancer nurse hits funding landmark

Date published: 17 September 2021

Read time: 3 minutes

CEO Andrew Haigh with Sir Bobby Robson Foundation

Newcastle Building Society has passed a multi-million pound landmark in its support for the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation after renewing its funding of a specialist nursing post at the city’s Freeman Hospital.

The Society has provided around £50,000 in each of the last two years to enable the Sir Bobby Robson Cancer Trials Research Centre, which sits within the Northern Centre for Cancer Care at the Freeman, to staff an Oncology Research Nurse position as part of its Early Phase Clinical Trials team.

And by renewing its support for the post for a third consecutive year, the Society’s cumulative contribution to the Foundation’s work has now passed £3m.

Newcastle Building Society is the largest corporate donor to the Foundation, which is part of Newcastle Hospitals Charity and was set up by Sir Bobby and Lady Elsie Robson in 2008 to support the search for more effective ways to detect and treat cancer.

Working within the NHS, and in collaboration with Newcastle University and other cancer charities, the Foundation’s main aim is to help fund world-class cancer treatments that directly benefit patients, as well as funding projects that enhance cancer patient care.

The Oncology Research Nurse position Newcastle Building Society is funding is held by Lesley Hill from Killingworth, who joined the Northern Centre team two years ago after spending a decade working in Rheumatology and Connective Tissue Diseases.

She says: “As soon as I walked on to the unit, I knew it was where I wanted to work - it’s a very special place and I feel privileged to work here.

“Even though they’re facing the most difficult of situations, our patients and their families are very much onside with what we’re aiming to achieve, and we all work together as a team.

“The work we do here and the level of targeted detail that goes into our trials is truly mind-blowing, and being part of treatments that will make a difference both now and in the future is a real honour.”

Newcastle Building Society’s relationship with the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation began in 2012 and funding of Sir Bobby’s charity has been a vital part of the Society’s extensive community giving.

The Foundation funds projects within the Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, which benefit cancer patients from across the Society’s heartland area, and it also contributes significantly to the global fight against the disease.

Lady Elsie Robson says: “The support offered by Newcastle Building Society has amazed us all. Not just the magnificent generosity of the donations they’ve made, but also their understanding and enthusiasm for the work we’re then able to fund.

“We’re extremely grateful to the Society and their members. To have donated over £3m is truly incredible. And thanks to that support, we’ve been able to do so much more to help people facing cancer. It’s very much appreciated and the Newcastle Building Society is, for us, what Bob liked to call a blue-chip player.”

Andrew Haigh, chief executive at Newcastle Building Society, adds: “We’re immensely proud to be a long-term part of Sir Bobby’s ‘last and greatest team’ and to be extending our support for our communities by contributing to work which makes such a difference to so many people living in them.  

“It’s good to see the funding we’ve provided on behalf of our members over the past nine years is being used in such a practical and valuable way, and inspiring to hear about the impact it makes for cancer patients from across the North East and Cumbria, and beyond.”