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2015

September 2015

  1. Beacon of Light illuminated at night

    Beacon Green Light

    “It’s been  a great week for the Foundation of Light as the BEACON OF LIGHT passed an important milestone when it secured full planning approval from Sunderland City Council.   “The Beacon will be a…

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    “It’s been  a great week for the Foundation of Light as the BEACON OF LIGHT passed an important milestone when it secured full planning approval from Sunderland City Council.

     

    “The Beacon will be a game-changer for the Foundation and catalyst for so much that we want to achieve in the next decade. The charity already works with more than 40,000 people every year, and the Beacon will significantly expand our work and the number of lives we can touch.

    “I have always been a passionate advocate of the power of education to change lives and the power of football to inspire and motivate people. The Beacon will epitomise this vision and fuse together sport, education, the world of work and health and well-being like no other place in the UK.

    The Beacon received more good news when the Home and Communities Agency (HCA) also confirmed the land transaction has been approved in principle with heads of terms being exchanged. The HCA has worked closely with the Foundation over the last year to bring about the land deal for the unique development.

    “We are immensely grateful to the Home and Communities Agency for their visionary approach and support for the Beacon of Light development. The landmark development will make a real difference to the lives of thousands of people and the Home and Communities Agency demonstrated a real enthusiasm and keenness to invest in the city from the outset. I would like to thank them for going the extra mile and showing great commitment to the project. Like us, they want to see the Beacon of Light become a reality.

    Contractors for the new development have now been shortlisted and tender documents issued. It is envisaged that work on the Beacon will start in spring 2016,

    The £16.5m striking cube-shaped development, designed by leading architecture practice FaulknerBrowns, will be the first building of its kind in the UK and house education and training facilities with an indoor football pitch above.

    “The Beacon will give us an important platform to expand our pioneering programmes and to extend our work into exciting new areas. We are thrilled that our vision is one step closer. The Beacon is attracting a lot of attention and we’re delighted so many individuals and organisations are keen to get involved,” added Lesley Spuhler, CEO of the Foundation.

    The award winning Foundation of Light was established in 2001 and uses the power of football to educate, inspire and motivate. One of the largest and leading sports charities in the UK, it has an excellent track record of working with children, young people and their families.

     

    Perspective Section Sports Hall

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January 2015

  1. Lesley Spuhler, CEO of Foundation of Light and Sir Bob Murray on the site of the Beacon.

    Beacon will be a powerful educator

    THE Foundation of Light and the Premier League recently teamed up to tell Ministers and MPs about their pioneering work in the community and to launch ambitious plans for the Beacon of Light. Baroness Jay…

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    THE Foundation of Light and the Premier League recently teamed up to tell Ministers and MPs about their pioneering work in the community and to launch ambitious plans for the Beacon of Light.

    Baroness Jay of Paddington who sponsored the event in the House of Lords with Sunderland MP Julie Elliot, outlined some of the ground-breaking work being undertaken in the north east

    by the Foundation of Light – the charity arm of SAFC, which was set up by Sir Bob in 2001.

    She said: “The Beacon of Light will be an inspirational, multi-functional Centre of Opportunity – bringing people, communities and agencies together to make an outstanding and long lasting difference to people’s lives.”

    Baroness Jay also revealed that the Beacon of Light development has the potential to generate an estimated social return on investment of more than £73 million within the next 20 years.

    Lesley Spuhler, CEO of Foundation of Light and Sir Bob Murray on the site of the Beacon.

    The £15m development, which will be operated by the Foundation of Light, will expand the award-winning work of the charity using the power of football and sport to engage people in activities designed to improve their lives,

    and the lives of those around them.

    Sir Bob explained; “The Beacon will be a vibrant and exciting education, skills and sports facility and will address local issues through four  innovative zones of sport and play, world of work, health and well-being and education – given Sunderland as a city is behind national figures in all of these areas. The Beacon will be operated as a social enterprise to ensure it is both sustainable and self-sufficient – not a constant ask but, once constructed, a constant give.”

    Julie Elliot MP added: “Despite the ground-breaking efforts of the Foundation of Light and various local agencies, Sunderland is still an area with its challenges. The Beacon of Light will empower people to take responsibility for their own choices and actions and encourage people to learn more, do more and be more. It will allow them to change their world and that of their families and neighbours – a succession of steady and gradual changes that will echo the story of social and economic regeneration in the North East.”

     

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2014

November 2014

  1. Using the power of football to inspire, educate and motivate.

    Thousands raised for Foundation

      Sir Bob hosted an exclusive gourmet dinner at the Stadium of Light which raised more than £25,000 for the Foundation of Light in November. Established in 2001 by Sir Bob, the Foundation of Light…

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    Using the power of football to inspire, educate and motivate.

    Sir Bob hosted an exclusive gourmet dinner at the Stadium of Light which raised more than £25,000 for the Foundation of Light in November.

    Established in 2001 by Sir Bob, the Foundation of Light is the registered charity of Sunderland AFC and uses the power of football to educate, inspire and motivate young people and their families. It is the largest football charity in the UK.

    Key supporters and trustees were welcomed to the Stadium of Light by Sir Bob for the fundraising event. Guests from the world of sport and entertainment included journalist Kate Adie OBE, architect and television presenter George Clarke, cricketer Paul Collingwood MBE, award-winning lyricist Sir Tim Rice as well as Olympian and television presenter Steve Cram MBE.

    Sir Bob said: “It’s always a pleasure to return to the Stadium of Light and this event was no exception. It was a special evening and also that raised a lot of money to support the Foundation’s life-changing work in the North East.

    “The evening was a tremendous success and I am extremely grateful to all of our supporters and Trustees for their continued support of the Foundation, a charity which is leading the way in its field and making a huge difference to the region.”

    Prizes on the night included VIP tickets to The Lion King in London’s West End, lunch at the House of Lords, a framed football shirt signed by Brazil legend Pele and a behind –the-scenes tour of St George’s Park, the FA’s National Football Centre.

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  1. 10 About - CoW at event

    Countess of Wessex supports Beacon of Light

    Sir Bob hosted a special event in Sunderland to raise awareness of the Beacon of Light project and HRH The Countess of Wessex GCVO attended as guest of honour. The Beacon of Light will be…

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    Sir Bob hosted a special event in Sunderland to raise awareness of the Beacon of Light project and HRH The Countess of Wessex GCVO attended as guest of honour. The Beacon of Light will be a vibrant and exciting education and sports facility and the first of its kind in the UK. It will use the power of football to inspire people and change lives. It will help people gain skills and qualifications and work with families to energise communities.

    The unique centre will become the home of the Foundation of Light in 2017 and include engaging and interactive zones in education; health and fitness; sport and play; and the world of work and will welcome thousands of children, young people and adults through its doors every week.

    The project, which is being led by Sir Bob, will help the Foundation to expand its reach and work with local people in a greater variety of ways to address the health and well-being, education and employment agendas.

    Foundation supporters and Trustees joined The Countess of Wessex on the visit including journalist Kate Adie OBE, architect and TV Restoration Man George Clarke, Olympian and sports broadcaster Steve Cram and Sir Tim Rice.

    Sir Bob said: “The Countess of Wessex has been a fantastic supporter of the Foundation over the years and we were delighted to welcome Her Royal Highness to an event focused on the iconic Beacon of Light project.

    “Ten years ago this month The Countess of Wessex opened the Centre of Light, a collection of classrooms and offices at the Stadium of Light that have had a huge impact on thousands of children, families and adults.

    “A decade later and we are discussing a new development that will greatly enhance the reach and impact of the Foundation’s work in the region, the natural progression of the work started at Her Royal Highness’ last visit here.”

    For further information about the beacon of light visit http://www.safc.com/foundation-of-light/beacon-of-light

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April 2014

  1. Chester-le-Street annual dinner

    Sir Bob enjoyed a wonderful evening at the annual sporting dinner held by the Chester-le-Street branch of the Sunderland Supporters’ Association. The dinner was organised by fans and attended by many red-and-white supporters as well…

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    Sir Bob enjoyed a wonderful evening at the annual sporting dinner held by the Chester-le-Street branch of the Sunderland Supporters’ Association.

    The dinner was organised by fans and attended by many red-and-white supporters as well as representatives from the club.

    Sir Bob said: “I had a fantastic evening and it was great to catch up with so many people, including former Sunderland manager Denis Smith.

    “The atmosphere was great and we were all chatting about the match at Manchester City from the previous night. Many of us were all still reeling from their late goal which cost us the game!”

    Click below to read Sunderland Echo Sport Writer Graeme Anderson’s review of the evening.

    Chester le Street Dinner

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March 2014

  1. Sir Bob at Wembley before the Capital One Cup Final

    Sir Bob’s Cup Final Review

        “It was fantastic to be a Sunderland supporter at Wembley. I felt really proud of the team and how they played and of the fans. The atmosphere was electric and you could see…

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    Sir Bob at Wembley before the Capital One Cup Final

     

    “It was fantastic to be a Sunderland supporter at Wembley. I felt really proud of the team and how they played and of the fans. The atmosphere was electric and you could see what it meant to every SAFC fan to be there. Everyone around me said they’d never heard a roar like it when Sunderland scored.

    “ I thought Gus got it right too in terms of selection, subs and tactics. It was a big occasion and he and the team did us all proud.

    “I’ve always really loved Manchester City as a club. They are a big community club like Sunderland and the fans have backed their club in good and bad times, despite living in the shadow of Manchester United for many years.

    “They know what it’s like to have ups and downs and not so long ago had to endure lower divisions. But, I don’t think we were beaten by that Manchester City on Sunday, the thing that separated us was money.

    “I really hope all the players and the fans can take all the pride and positives from the game and it lifts everyone for the rest of the season.”

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February 2014

  1. Sir Bob’s Cup Final Countdown

      Sir Bob chatted to The Journal’s sports writer Stuart Rayner about the highs and lows of being a Sunderland supporter and reflected on Sunderland’s history at Wembley. Click the links below to read the…

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    Sir Bob at Wembley

    Sir Bob chatted to The Journal’s sports writer Stuart Rayner about the highs and lows of being a Sunderland supporter and reflected on Sunderland’s history at Wembley.

    Click the links below to read the article.

    The Ballad of the Black Cats and Wembley finals 1

    The Ballad of the Black Cats and Wembley finals 2

     

     

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2013

July 2013

  1. Duke and Duchess of Cambridge with Prince George of Cambridge

    Royal seal of approval for St George’s

      Sir Bob Murray was appointed as Project Director of St George’s Park in 2008 due to his vast experience in the football industry and in stadia and property development. St George’s Park was officially…

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    Duke and Duchess of Cambridge with Prince George of Cambridge

     

    Sir Bob Murray was appointed as Project Director of St George’s Park in 2008 due to his vast experience in the football industry and in stadia and property development.

    St George’s Park was officially opened by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on 9th October 2012 and Bob and his wife Sue had the honour of spending time with the royal couple.

    “Sue and I were introduced to the Duke and Duchess and had the opportunity to speak to them for them for a long time. There was something glowing about them both and it wasn’t long after we met that the news the Duchess of Cambridge was expecting their first baby was revealed.

    “It was wonderful to hear that they had welcomed their first child into the world in July and to later hear he was going to be called Prince George, said Bob.

    “It did make me smile when I heard the name as it reminded me of Prince William asking me all about the inspiration for the name of St George’s Park last year. The Centre was originally called the National Football Centre but the FA gave me the privilege of naming it St George’s Park.

    “The Duke of Cambridge asked me where the name had come from when we were chatting and I replied for King and Country, Sir!”

    “I understand that the Prince was named after the Queen’s father, George VI and in choosing a name borne by six previous Kings, as well as England’s patron saint, the couple chose well.”

    Since its opening St George’s Park has earned plaudits from across sport and the globe for the quality of its facilities as well as the hope that it has injected into the future of English football.

     

    Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, David Bernstein, Chairman of FA, Sir Bob and Lady Murray at opening of St George’s Park

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May 2013

  1. charles_alcock_sm

    Campaign to honour Charles Alcock

    The forgotten hero who created the world’s most famous club competition is to be honoured forty years after SAFC won the FA Cup. Sir Bob has been championing the cause of Charles William Alcock, a…

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    The forgotten hero who created the world’s most famous club competition is to be honoured forty years after SAFC won the FA Cup.

    Sir Bob has been championing the cause of Charles William Alcock, a Sunderland-born pioneer of the ‘beautiful game.’ Not only was Alcock behind the FA Cup, he also organised the first international football match.

    “Not many people know the name Charles William Alcock, that he was one of the founding fathers of modern-day football or that he came from Sunderland. His name is not synonymous with modern day football or sport, but perhaps it should be,” said Sir Bob.

    Charles W. Alcock was born in Norfolk Street in Sunderland in 1842, one of five sons of a shipbuilder originally from Durham. The family moved from Sunderland to London during the 1850s.

    “Alcock made a huge contribution to football and was a pioneer of modern football playing styles. He was responsible for the first ever international football match, but probably more apt this year as Sunderland celebrates the 40th Anniversary of their win, he created The FA Cup,” explained Sir Bob.

    Alcock devoted his life to sport first as a player and later as an influential and leading administrator and also a journalist. He guided The FA and his progressive thinking led to the rapid development of the national game and modern playing styles and the establishment of league football.

    He joined the FA Committee in 1866 and was appointed Honorary Secretary of The FA in 1870 and served in that role until 1895. He conceived and established the FA Cup, and even captained the first ever winning side, Wanderer’s at The Oval in 1872. He later refereed the 1875 and 1879 Finals.

    He also captained England in the first ever international football match against Scotland in 1870, although this game is considered unofficial by football historians and doesn’t appear in any record books. Nonetheless the match paved the way for the first officially recognised international match between Scotland and England in 1872. Alcock was selected to captain the England side but missed out due to injury.

    In 1895 he was appointed Vice President of The FA and 26 years later toured with England when the side visited Berlin and Prague for the first time. As part of his enormous contribution to sport he was also the Secretary of Surrey CCC from 1872 and helped arrange the first ever Test Match to be played in England.

     “I’ve always enjoyed a great working relationship with The FA and was delighted to be asked to get involved with the development of the new Wembley Stadium and more recently St George’s Park,” said Sir Bob

    “But, I always believed Charles Alcock deserved more recognition and have mentioned his name to a few people over the years. I recently decided to write to the FA Chairman David Bernstein to ask him to install a plaque or something befitting this eminent man at Wembley Stadium.

    “David wrote back to me and wholeheartedly agrees that Alcock made an incredibly important contribution to the history of our game and confirmed – after discussing it with the Executive Team leading The FA’s 150th Anniversary Celebrations – that he will be honoured in a number of ways this year.

    “I’m thrilled that Charles Alcock will finally get the recognition he so truly deserves.

    “The FA has given its full support to the restaging of the first FA Cup Final that Alcock was responsible for at The Oval between Royal Engineers and Wanderers. There could be no more fitting a venue for the commemoration of this match than The Oval, where Alcock also served Surrey CCC with such distinction as well.”

    In partnership with the National Football Museum The FA is also undertaking a significant project to find out more about the founding fathers of football and The FA. The project will be launched later in the year and this could include a permanent tribute being made to honour Alcock – and other founding fathers – at Wembley.

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April 2013

  1. St George's Park - General views of the football training facilities and hotel complex during a media event

    SAFC legend visits St George’s Park

          A former Sunderland AFC legend has visited the new National Football Centre, St George’s Park, after receiving an invitation from Sir Bob. Marco Gabbiadini, one of Sunderland’s most memorable key players, was…

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    A former Sunderland AFC legend has visited the new National Football Centre, St George’s Park, after receiving an invitation from Sir Bob.

    Marco Gabbiadini, one of Sunderland’s most memorable key players, was impressed with the new FA coaching headquarters; “The stunning facilities make an old pro like me almost shed a tear!”

    In 2004 Bob was appointed Project Director for St George’s Park to drive delivery of the project on time and to budget, due to his experience in the football industry and stadia development.

    The Centre, located in Burton, was officially opened in October 2012 by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge.

    During Marco’s visit there was an Under-13s Premier League tournament with 12 teams from all over Europe, as well as a Cerebral Palsy football tournament.

    The Norwich City football squad were there too, using the hotel and training facilities to prepare for their fixture against Stoke.

    Speaking of St George’s Park, Marco said;

     “All this inclusive activity means English football has a solid base to work from and develop and we should be proud that a son of Sunderland has had such a big hand in its delivery.”

     

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