Businessmen from Bury St Edmunds are among committee members working hard on Sir Bobby’s Breakthrough charity campaign.
Alan Jones, commercial director for the sports business of the European Broadcasting Union, Edward Crichton, fine art manager at Lacy Scott and Knight, and Austin Cornish, founder and managing director of Bury Developments, are involved in different ways but committed to realising the same goal - seeing the campaign reach its ambitious £1 million target.
Mr Jones has been using his access to sports people and sports properties to help secure impressive auction prizes.
But, as well as the ‘knock out and take your breath away prizes’ that are expected to raise the most money, he said there were many prizes accessible to the masses and some ‘great prizes’ in a £5 text to win, which anyone can enter.
The 44-year-old is also appealing to local businesses to get involved by donating smaller prizes worth between £50-£100.
“It all makes a difference and it all goes to charity, he said.”
Personal experience has seen the campaign take on greater importance for him recently, with his mother, father and sister having undergone treatment for cancer in the last two years.
As someone who was ‘privileged’ to have met Sir Bobby Robson on a number of occasions, he described the footballer and football manager - who died in 2009 - as an inspiration for the fund-raising he did towards the end of his life while suffering from ‘a debilitating illness’ and as a ’true gentleman’.
He said: “He wasn’t just a sportsman respected in the world of soccer, he was a sportsman respected throughout the world.”
Mr Cornish has also been working hard on getting friends and colleagues to donate prizes, with a luxury catamaran sailing trip around the British Virgin Isles among items he has helped source.
The 43-year-old, who is also well-known locally for his work on St Nicholas Hospice Care’s Special Events Committee, said he was impressed by the scale of this year’s campaign, with ‘bigger targets, bigger exposure and big name sponsors’ working to benefit important cancer research based charities.
This year the campaign is raising funds for the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation, Breakthrough Breast Cancer and the West Suffolk and Ipswich Hospitals.
Mr Crichton, who is excited about being involved again following the success of the 2011 charity ball and auction, said: “It was a real dream to do because everyone in the room was having a wonderful evening and was incredibly generous. Every lot exceeded expectations.”
The 41-year-old described committee members as having different skill sets and, as auctioneer, said his would ‘come to the fore’ on the night of the auction.
He added: “All the charities are great but I’m particularly pleased that at least 20 per cent of what we raise is staying in the county and 10 per cent is going to West Suffolk Hospital because the hospital has been so good to me and my family over the years and we don’t forget that.”
To register for the online auction, which will be open for bids from October 10-27, visit www.sirbobbysbreakthrough.com