Widnes Vikings will adopt the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation as its shirt partner for the Magic Weekend in Newcastle this year.
Vikings raised more than £20,000 for the Foundation last year when they launched a special edition black and white striped shirt.
This year’s Widnes shirt will not only carry Sir Bobby’s name but will also include the names of 3,000 other supporters, which will be printed into the fabric of the shirt thanks to the ‘Tackling Cancer #ImOnIt’ campaign launched by the Vikings during the month of February.
Widnes are asking for a £10 donation to be made to the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation to secure each name on the 2016 Magic Weekend jersey, and donors will also receive a confirmation certificate via email which can be shared via social media.
“Supporting the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation before and during last year’s Magic Weekend worked fantastically well,” Vikings Marketing Director Brian O’Connor said.
“The campaign was hugely successful and supporters of both the Vikings and Newcastle United should be immensely proud of the contribution that they made to such a worthwhile cause.
“The announcement that Magic Weekend was returning to the North East for a second year has allowed us to strengthen our work with Sir Bobby’s foundation, and as an organisation this is something that we are extremely excited and privileged to be a part of.
“The Tacking Cancer #ImOnIt campaign gives supporters of both rugby league and football the opportunity to donate to the Foundation in the great man’s memory.
“In return each donation will be rewarded with a place in the fabric of our 2016 Magic Weekend ‘toon inspired’ jersey, which will be worn not only by the players on the day, but will be available to purchase for supporters to wear in the Gallowgate or to keep as a souvenir of their donation.”
A donation of £5 will also be gifted to the Foundation from the sale of each and every Widnes Vikings’ Magic Weekend replica shirt sold, with the club keen to raise even more money for the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation in 2016.
The first person to donate £10 to the initiative was Newcastle United Legend, Kevin Keegan, who was thrilled to be asked to launch the campaign.
Keegan was the first to receive his confirmation certificate and pose for an image to show his support for the #ImOnIt campaign.
“This is a great idea to raise money for a fantastic cause. I am sure that it will be embraced not only by their own rugby fans but by the people of Newcastle,” Keegan said.
“Sir Bobby is held in high regard all over the world but no more than in Newcastle. The Foundation continues to do fantastic work in his memory to help people with cancer and I hope the Vikings campaign is a huge success.”
Liz Luff from the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation said: “We’re extremely pleased to be receiving support from Widnes Vikings and their wonderful fans once again.
“Last year’s Magic Weekend was a fantastic event and an opportunity for rugby league fans from all over the country to experience a warm welcome in Newcastle.
“Equally, for the people of the city it was a chance to enjoy what was, for many, their first rugby league game.
“The support Widnes gave to the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation certainly contributed to the positive atmosphere around the event and the club was ‘adopted’ by many local sports fans.
“Seeing Gallowgate awash with black and white stripes and hearing Widnes fans chanting Sir Bobby’s name was very moving. I’m sure Sir Bobby would have loved it and there were plenty of Newcastle United fans who bought a shirt and came along to support the Vikings too.
“The money raised through the Magic Weekend shirt sales and donations will help us continue our work to find more effective ways to detect and treat cancer and we’re very grateful to Widnes Vikings for their marvellous support.”