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2016

October 2016

  1. Foundation of Light Trustees approve start of work on Beacon

    Work Starts on Beacon of Light

    The Beacon of Light passed another important milestone at the weekend when Trustees of the charity approved the start of construction at a meeting at the Stadium of Light. Tolent Construction who won the tender…

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    The Beacon of Light passed another important milestone at the weekend when Trustees of the charity approved the start of construction at a meeting at the Stadium of Light.

    Tolent Construction who won the tender to build the Beacon, which will fuse together sport, education, the world of work, health and well-being, are expected to move onto site next to the Stadium of Light during the week.

    Sir Bob Murray said: “The Beacon of Light will be a first for the Foundation and for the region, so we’re thrilled to be moving on site and starting work this week.

    “We are immensely grateful to our patrons, benefactors, sponsors and supporters for backing us. It has been heartening to work with so many likeminded people who share values, and who want to make a lasting difference to people in the northeast. Their vision and generosity will inspire many more people to learn more, do more and be more, and will change countless lives.

    The striking cube-shaped development will be the first building of its kind in the country and house education and training facilities with an indoor football pitch above. When they enter the Beacon, visitors will be presented with a busy street along which the various activities will interconnect. Inspirational and motivational zones for education, the world of work, health and wellbeing, sport and play will combine together with excellent views into a sports arena.

    Trustee Sir Tim Rice added, “The Beacon will be a landmark destination delivering a meaningful and lasting legacy and it will represent a significant step change for the charity in terms of what we will be able to deliver in the future.”

    http://www.foundationoflight.co.uk/Beacon-of-Light/latest-beacon-news/

     

     

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2015

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

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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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

December 2013

  1. Goodbye to the Football Echo

    Sir Bob has lamented the passing of the Football Echo, a paper which has followed the highs and lows of Sunderland AFC since 1907. After 106 years, the Football Echo has been printed for the…

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    Sir Bob has lamented the passing of the Football Echo, a paper which has followed the highs and lows of Sunderland AFC since 1907.

    After 106 years, the Football Echo has been printed for the final time and will make the transition online in the New Year.

    Sir Bob commented on the loss of the weekly paper, saying: “I’ll be really sorry when it’s gone. It was an institution and something every Sunderland fan wanted to see on a Saturday night – especially if we’d won.

    “It was often the catalyst for discussion in pubs and clubs, with people agreeing or disagreeing about what had been written.

    “My Dad took me to my first Sunderland match in 1954. We were playing the team of the day, Wolverhampton Wanderers and the atmosphere was terrific, with the Roker Roar in full voice. That was it, I was hooked and I suppose I’d have seen my first Football Echo soon after that.

    “I know that four years later Sunderland were relegated for the first time, and the Footy, to that point printed in pink, went white with shock.

    “I’ve been getting the paper for 58 years. I used to wait at Ibbetsons, with my savaloy, after the game, waiting for the paper to come out in the low times in the early 1960’s.

    “One edition I do remember well is the one from May 5, 1973 – the day we won the FA Cup. The Footy Echo’s headline was ‘They’ve done it” and that summed up the feeling of the whole town.

    “What the current writers and the reporters of yesteryear – including the famous Argus – have always done is more than just report every kick. They’ve captured the spirit of each game, the chants of the crowd, what the away support was like and how the officials performed. You almost felt you were there, which was invaluable for those who couldn’t get to every home or away game.

    “And one thing was for certain, no matter where we are on Match of the Day the Football Echo has always put Sunderland first and last.

    “Wherever I’ve lived, I’ve always had the Footy Echo posted to me. The coverage was always in-depth, comprehensive and interesting. The Footy Echo also provided a platform for readers to have their say: although when I was chairman of the club I didn’t always agree with what was being said, it was an important forum for fans, especially in the days before the internet.

    “It has chronicled the ups and downs and ins and outs of the club for so long, it’s hard to think of life as a Sunderland fan without it. I know it was one of only one or two remaining Saturday afternoon football papers, and I remember when most evening papers had similar publications. I think it has survived so long because it did its job so well – and because of the close relationship between club, fans and the Footy Echo.

    “During my time at the club, we treated the Footy Echo very seriously and tried to help the Echo writers by providing players and staff for interviews. We saw it as a way of keeping supporters informed and involved. It was a valuable platform for the club and was very much party of our long and valued relationship with the Sunderland Echo.

    “I also think it has played a vital role in shining a light on the dozens, if not hundreds, of non-league games being played on Wearside and beyond over a weekend. It provided a valuable service for these teams, often being the source of was in the team and who wasn’t and where the games were to be played, and when, for Sunday morning teams and others.

    “It helped maintain interest in these leagues and, over the years, probably helped kept them going.

    “I can understand the financial pressures on it in these days of saturation coverage of the Premier League and so few games scheduled for Saturday afternoons, but it’s still a blow.

    “I’ll be genuinely sorry to see it go, and I’m sure all Sunderland fans will be too.”

     

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July 2013

  1. Featured story image

    George Clarke joins Foundation of Light

    Sunderland-born TV personality George Clarke has been appointed Trustee of the Foundation of Light after being personally invited by Sir Bob. George, who was born and raised in Sunderland, studied architecture at the University of…

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    Chair of Trustees of the Foundation of Light, Sir Bob Murray with George Clarke

    Sunderland-born TV personality George Clarke has been appointed Trustee of the Foundation of Light after being personally invited by Sir Bob.

    George, who was born and raised in Sunderland, studied architecture at the University of Newcastle and is now Creative Director of London-based architectural practice George Clarke + Partners which has established a reputation for designing and building high quality, award winning projects throughout the UK and abroad.

    George is also a writer, lecturer and TV presenter and has presented popular TV shows including Build a New Life in the Country, The Home Show, Restoration Man and George Clarke’s Amazing Spaces.

    Bob invited George to join the board after Lord Puttnam of Queensgate CBE stepped down from the board earlier this year.

    Speaking of his appointment, George said; “I’m delighted to join the Foundation of Light as a trustee and want to publically express my thanks to Sir Bob for asking me.

    “Being from the North East I am keen to be involved in the regeneration of the region in any way I can. The Foundation is doing some fantastic work across Sunderland, South Tyneside and County Durham and it’s a real privilege to be able to accept this official role with them.”

    Bob added; “George has a real grasp of the importance of community and like the Foundation of Light, is passionate about regeneration and helping to transform people’s lives.

    “I am certain his creative perspective and vast experience in architecture will further strengthen our Board.

    “His public profile will also be a huge asset and will help us to convey the importance of the Foundation’s work to the public and other stakeholders.”

    The Foundation of Light uses the power of football to involve, educate and inspire more than 42,000 young people and their families across the North East each year.

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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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2011

December 2011

  1. RSM COAT OF ARMS

    Murray Family Coat of Arms Approved

    After being bestowed the CBE in 2002 for his work in the North East community, Bob was knighted in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list in November 2010 for services to football and education. His Investiture…

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    After being bestowed the CBE in 2002 for his work in the North East community, Bob was knighted in the Queen’s Birthday Honours list in November 2010 for services to football and education. His Investiture at Buckingham Palace took place in November that year.On receipt of his knighthood the College of Arms awarded Sir Bob Murray a Grant of Arms and

        accorded him the honour of a family crest. The Coat of Arms was approved by the Kings of Arms in December 2011 and was designed to reflect Bob’s life, interests, family and career.The black half panther is a symbol of his passion for Sunderland Football Club and is representative of its Black Cat mascot. Sir Bob invited supporters of the club to choose a new mascot in 1997, when it moved from Roker Park to the Stadium of Light.

    The red and white wreath on his coat of arms depicts a lifelong love of the City of Sunderland and, of course Jersey, where he married his wife Sue and now lives. The red theme is continued in the mantling which reflects both Sunderland and Jersey.

    Bob is very proud of his industrial heritage and north east roots and it is for this reason that he chose to include a colliery wheel as a fitting tribute to the coal mining tradition of his family and the region. The Stadium of Light was also built on the site of the largest former coal mine in Sunderland.

    The red saltire behind the colliery wheel was incorporated in the coat of arms to emphasise the   importance Jersey has played in Sir Bob’s life for nearly 40 years and his great love for the island, now the family home.

    Yorkshire is also of great importance to the family. The White Rose County is the county of birth of his wife Sue, his two daughters Alex and Nicole and his son James and is represented in the coat of arms by the inclusion of a rose branch with four white roses between the forepaws of the black demi panther. Bob has been successful in business in Yorkshire since 1969 and remains so   today.

    Similarly, four black lozenge (diamonds), which appear in the Arms of Durham and are seen on the County Durham flag, are symbolic of Sir Bob’s love and pride for his own county of birth. The lion rampant holding a sword as appears on the Durham flag is also included at the foot of the Badge.

    The motto ‘FORTUNE, INTEGRITY AND LABOUR’ was chosen by the family to convey their beliefs that ample amounts of luck and hard work, together with integrity, have helped them realise their    ambitions and achieve success.

    A helmet is only permitted in the design of a coat of arms for a Knight of the Realm and the Insignia for Knight and CBE. The Knight Bachelor’s badge and the circlet of the CBE are also featured in the coat of arms.

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October 2011

  1. 2011

    Freedom of the City of Sunderland honour for Bob

      In October 2011, Bob was awarded the Honorary Freedom of the City of Sunderland. The honour was bestowed on Bob by Sunderland City Council for his eminent services to football, education and charitable causes…

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    Bob awarded Honorary Freedom of the City of Sunderland

    In October 2011, Bob was awarded the Honorary Freedom of the City of Sunderland. The honour was bestowed on Bob by Sunderland City Council for his eminent services to football, education and charitable causes within the City and local area.

    With both his mother and father being born in Sunderland, Bob’s civic and football allegiances have always remained firmly with the City. He has always demonstrated a great determination and desire to stand up for the City and everyone in it through his charity work and business life.

    The Leader of Sunderland City Council, Paul Watson said: “Sir Bob has been nominated in recognition of his outstanding contributions to football, education and charitable causes within the City. If anyone ever epitomised the spirit of Sunderland, then it is Robert Sydney ‘Bob’ Murray.”

    The extraordinary honour from a City he loves was accepted by Bob with great pride on 14th October 2011. He said: “I’m massively proud of my heritage. There is no greater privilege than to be recognised by your own. Sunderland has always been with me, all my life. It has a special place in my heart and has always been good to me. Thank you so much for this most unique and incredibly special honour.”

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    Sir Bob, Lady Murray and the Family

     

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