Sir Bobby Robson’s widow, Lady Elsie, returned to the school sports centre he opened 13 years ago this week to celebrate the difference it is making to young people’s lives.
In 2006, the couple attended the official opening of the Sir Bobby Robson Sports Centre at the Durham Federation in Ushaw Moor, a few miles from where the legendary football manager grew up in Langley Park.
Since then, the centre has developed into a thriving community sports hub, providing modern training facilities and a 3G pitch for the school and local football teams.
To ensure the centre continues to benefit future generations of youngsters, this year the school resurfaced the 3G pitch and invited Lady Elsie along for its official reopening.
Staff and pupils were delighted when she accepted the invitation and gave her the warmest of welcomes when she arrived on Wednesday afternoon.
As well as inspecting the resurfaced pitch, Lady Elsie unveiled a new plaque at the centre commemorating its reopening. She also heard about the difference the Sir Bobby Robson Sports Centre is making to the lives of aspiring young footballers.
Debbie White, business manager at the Durham Federation, had just started at the school when Sir Bobby and Lady Elsie opened the centre in 2006 and has fond memories of the visit.
She said: “Sir Bobby was a true gentleman and was more than happy to give up his time to talk to the students and have his photograph taken with them. Those of us who were there at the time have such wonderful memories of that visit and we are so honoured that Lady Elsie has come to see us again. It’s been an incredibly special day and a fantastic opportunity for us to show how Sir Bobby’s legacy is continuing to inspire young people.”
As well as providing facilities for school sports lessons, the centre is also home to Deerness Valley Football Club, Durham United Football Club and Durham County Football Club.
Headteacher Alison Jobling said: “The centre is crucial in helping us to deliver our GSCE curriculum and offer fantastic opportunities to all of our students, especially those who are part of our Evolution Soccer Coaching School. It also means pupils can join a football team and train within the safe and convenient setting of the school.
“It’s been such a pleasure to show Lady Elsie what we do here and how important the centre is to the community.”