Norwich City’s Delia Smith to become patron of Bobby Robson charity

Cookery queen and Norwich City joint majority shareholder Delia Smith CBE, will tonight be announced as a patron of the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation at a glittering dinner in west Suffolk to raise funds for the charity.

Sir Bobby's widow Lady Elsie will be taking the opportunity to announce Delia's new role at Sir Bobby's Breakthrough Ball at the Apex venue in Bury St Edmunds.

It is hoped �250,000 will be raised for the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation and Breakthrough Breast Cancer through the ball, as well as an associated online auction boasting spectacular prizes.

Lady Elsie said: 'After my husband died I asked a small group of friends if they would help support our ongoing efforts fighting cancer through the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation.

'Delia was one of those people and, very kindly, she immediately agreed. Since then we've been waiting for an appropriate occasion to announce her support.

'It's taken a bit longer than any of us had planned and I'm happy that we're finally in a position to thank Delia publicly for her behind the scenes support.

'Sir Bobby's Breakthrough Ball will be a wonderful event and a very fitting occasion to welcome Delia formally as a patron of the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation.'

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Delia, who is also a joint majority shareholder in Norwich City Football Club, joins a select group of high profile supporters as a patron of the charity; Sir Bobby's Ipswich Town captain Mick Mills, Newcastle United legend Alan Shearer, Sunderland AFC's Niall Quinn and Middlesbrough FC chairman Steve Gibson all generously contribute in that role.

Delia said: 'Sir Bobby was a great friend and inspiration to me for many years, and it is a privilege to help continue the magnificent work he and Elsie started in any way I can.

'Cancer knows no boundaries, and it is wonderful that this is one struggle in which all football clubs have united. This evening is just one step towards the ultimate aim – of eradicating the scourge of this disease.

'It will happen, and by supporting Sir Bobby's Breakthrough Auction and Ball we can make it happen sooner rather than later. I look forward to a record-breaking evening.'

Sir Bobby's Breakthrough Auction has attracted 177 lots featuring money-can't-buy-prizes from football clubs across the UK, and as far away as the USA, and has the support of all of Sir Bobby's teams.

The highest bids so far are for Jose Mourinho's Fifa Ballon D'Or World Coach of the Year award trophy and the FC Barcelona experience at �6,600 for each.

Lady Elsie added: 'One of the greatest strengths of our charity, and something I know my husband was immensely proud of, is the way football clubs have joined together to back our cause.

'In his last book Bob wrote that cancer takes no account of your team, your age or anything else and the wonderful support we're receiving from football clubs all over the world reflects that.

'We're extremely grateful to Delia and all the football clubs and fans who are contributing to our fight against cancer.'

Sir Bobby and Lady Elsie launched the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation in March 2008 to help find more effective ways to treat and diagnose cancer.

The auction and ball, which are sponsored by the East Anglian Daily Times, are being held in memory of Sir Bobby and breast cancer campaigner Sally Balch. Sally was a founding member of the Breakthrough Suffolk group and died of breast cancer in 2004.

For more details on Sir Bobby's Breakthrough Auction or to make a donation visit or follow via Twitter @sirbobbyauction.

The majority of auction lots end on Sunday although a small number will be completed at the ball tonight.