BORO REAL FANS – Believe In Dreams

Boro Real Fans – Believe in Dreams are making fantasy reality for deserving children from all over Teesside. A bunch of Boro fans have set out to make a difference by bringing a bit of Boro joy into little lives. Children that have maybe gone through tough times and need a little Boro boost. The group organise tickets, ground tours and much much more.

I asked the fans group to tell a little more about their story and what they are achieving. I was going to say hoping to achieve but they have already put smiles on many, many of young faces, since coming together at the end of last season.

This all started when Jimmy Wilson and Jennifer Fowles started off by raising money for Pete Roberts and his son Zack to get them tickets for Wembley. To their surprise the groups on facebook took this idea and the donations started to roll in and they raised £115 in less than 24 hours.

boro real fans 2One of the group Members Tony Wedlake bought 2 tickets during the online sale period and said he would like to give them to Pete and Zack to make their dreams come true and all monies raised should be used to buy Zack items from the club shop to make his day even more special. Needless to say the result was not ideal but both Pete and Zack had a day to remember.

After Wembley there was a meeting held with Jimmy, Jen, Tony And myself (Phil Bew) and we were discussing about taking this further and making dreams come true for as many kids as we can and this was when Boro Real Fans Believe In Dreams was born. We arranged a meeting with the club which Jen and Phil attended and we spoke about what we wanted and were looking to achieve through fundraising on facebook and people we knew.

We have so far managed to secure 2 adults and 2 kids season tickets for the family zone, so every game we send 2 kids and their carers/parents/guardians to the game and the club show them round the family zone and they have a great time. We paid for kit and tickets and a donation to travel costs for the Derby County away fixture just gone. We also have bought the home mascot packages for both Charlton Athletic and Derby County which will be given to kids through nominations.

george kidsWe run a stadium tour every month also which takes at least 10 (mix of adults and kids) on an official stadium tour round the ground. Then they get a little goodie bag with sweets and drinks and crisps in from ourselves also.

We are also planning a huge winter funderland Christmas party which will have all sorts and this will be for nearly 100 kids. Plans for this are ongoing but we are trying to bring Lapland to Middlesbrough is the best way to describe it.

The kids we are looking to get as nominations are from a very wide range but all fall under kids with disabilities, under privileged, disadvantaged or have overcome obstacles to continue with their lives. The reaction to what we are doing has been nothing but positive and supportive, we did wonder how it would come across after raising money for one person as it was with Wembley but everyone knows we are doing it to help as many as we can and the support both financially and in terms of morale have been brilliant and we couldn’t have imagined it being as successful so quickly as it has been.

People can contact us through the facebook page itself or through the group we have called Boro Real fans Believe In Dreams. They can go on there and nominate or donate if they wish also.

We have a go fund me page too

boro real fans

Boro Real Fans have their first fundraiser this Friday 6th November at Ironopolis Social Club.

The popular pre match haunt for many Boro fans will see a night of music and fundraising.

Performing will be Mr Soul George Williamson and top Mod Band Heavy Mod. Plus Disco, raffle, auction, a top class night of entertainment & fundraising.

The Funds raised from this night will go towards a Christmas Disney Wonderland Party for 100 Children with disabilities, ill health, faced tragic loss or less fortunate than others in Middlesbrough being held on December 13th.

Friday’s kick off is 7pm and tickets are £5 –  let’s see a full house (275 capacity).

boro real fans fundraiser



Life and Times: George Caulkin

North East football united for the Sir Bobby Robson Celebrity Golf Day at Rockliffe Hall Hotel, to raise funds for the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation – on the day the Foundation announced it has now passed the £9million fundraising mark (previously £8.3 million).
The event sponsored by Pin Point Recruitment, is a popular fixture on the region’s golf calendar and brings together current and former representatives of Middlesbrough, Newcastle United and Sunderland football clubs to raise money for local people facing cancer.
Organised by Sir Bobby’s family, the event sold out well in advance and the venue was, once again, beautiful Rockliffe Hall Hotel, near Darlington.
Charity patron and Times northern sports correspondent, George Caulkin spoke with me about the work of the Foundation before running the rule over the current plight of north east football.

Fly: How many years have the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation golf days been held at Rockliffe Hall?

GC: This is four out of the last five years.

Fly: The charity seems to have gone from strength to strength?

GC: It has been absolutely extraordinary. Very humbling. A real success story when you think that originally Bobby had the idea of raising £500 000 and that was what drove him to do it and he assembled his last great team as he called it. For it to be over £8 million now and going strong and people still coming up with new and inventive ways of raising money for such an important issue is absolutely incredible.

Fly: I guess the golf day shows once again how the issue and the charity is a uniting force across all the north east football rivalries.

GC: Yes, having it here at Rockcliffe which is a real flagship for the region in terms of the golf facilities and obviously we are right next to Middlesbrough’s training ground and that feels like a powerful message too. We have representatives from Newcastle, Middlesbrough and Sunderland here today too and there are cricketers and far more besides too. There is a simple message to that, firstly cancer takes absolutely no account of where you are from and who you are and what colours you wear on your shirt. And also Sir Bobby Robson Foundation is a pan north east charity. We have got very strong Teesside representation, Steve Gibson is of course a patron of the charity and it works within the NHS but it is a region wide charity and that is a very important message for us.

Fly: It is fantastic for people in the north east to know that through their own generosity they have some of the best treatments and cutting edge drugs in this country and beyond.

GC: As a journalist you shouldn’t be asking me about facts but some of the research that’s going on is not just treatment trials it is also world class research and that stacks up against anywhere in the world and for that to be in the north east is incredibly positive. Today is a big day with lots of football and other celebrities here but really the meat and drink of our charity is normal people raising funds, whether it is the Great North Run or evenings at the village hall, whatever. And that is what drives the charity and keeps us going.

Fly: So, anyone can think up an idea and it does not preclude anyone?

GC: No and that is it. We are a charity that has no running costs. We don’t have any permanent members of staff. We are fully based within the NHS. That is also important. We are very proud of that connection. We are open to all. Again I think that is very important because the disease is something that will have touched everybody at some point or other, whether it is to them, family or friends.

George CaulkinFly: Can I ask you about north east football?

GC: We are standing in an oasis of positivity here. It is brilliant to see Middlesbrough doing so well, fingers crossed this will be their year. Very encouraging. Obviously we have got sad news in the region in terms of steel but the football club yet again is being a beacon for the town and the area and that is great, long may that continue. In terms of Sunderland and Newcastle it’s pretty much more of the same and it is pretty depressing, it has to be said.

Fly: The troubles in Newcastle and Sunderland seem far deeper than just a manager.

GC: Yes there are fundamental… at Sunderland it is a groundhog day existence. They are in their cycle of changing managers once a season, it feels like. The incredible miracles that they are having and then not being able to build on it; it means they are resetting each time. It shows the Premier League isn’t everything and is not the be all and end all and being there isn’t the only thing that matters it is about having an identity, it is about standing for something. Sunderland has been there for 9 years and if they went down I don’t think they would leave a footprint apart from how brilliant their fans are, particularly away from home. And that is very sad.

Newcastle, there are all sorts of questions about the structure of the club, the system that they have, whether it can thrive. Last season felt like a nadir but it certainly shows that that is not going to be solved by splurging a bit of money over the summer and a new head coach.

Fly: Gary Neville recently wrote about the decline of football in the north and a power shift away to the south.

GC: I read that and he said at the end that he was asking a question as opposed to making a theory and a lot of that resonated. For me, the issue is more about identity and is that identity being lost and for me it comes down to money and that is absolutely the biggest thing.

Fly: The stakes are so high.

GC: Yes, the stakes are so high. If you take Newcastle as an example. Twenty years ago they were challenging for the title and what happened after that in terms of the new managers they brought in, you never questioned for a moment what the desire, what the aim was. It was this, almost heartbreaking, or maybe amusing if you are a Boro fan, ache for a trophy. It was about winning something. Now, suddenly that has gone. There has been this real question of identity and purpose. It is only this summer, that Ashley said they want to win something again. So, what is the point of being a football fan?

And Sunderland have had the annual push to survive but to what end? So, that they can play Stoke again next season? It is not universal. You look at other teams and how they do have an identity and way of playing and can build on that. Swansea and Southampton are the examples often used. But certainly for Tyne and Wear, the identity and point of the football clubs has been lost.

Fly: Only going back 3 or 4 years there were a lot of teams from the north west in the top flight and maybe Hull as an outpost in Yorkshire.

GC: Yorkshire as a patch has disappeared. Certainly in terms of journalism.

Fly: There is a lot of mismanagement.

GC: There is a lot. I don’t know how much is cyclical. Again Gary Neville talked about that and again there is a case to make that point. Then, the longer you don’t have the Premier money, the longer you don’t have the tv money, the more difficult it is to get back.

Fly: Did you notice in the Capital One Cup a load of Championship sides put out weaker teams, even in the case of Ipswich they played a far weaker side at Old Trafford than Man U?

GC: Yes and I find that so sad. Newcastle contrived to lose to a Sheffield Wednesday team that had made ten changes. It didn’t matter, they won. But it is bizarre. Again it shows how the whole ethos of football has changed. Certainly in the Premier League, the guiding emotion seems to be fear. Particularly now it is about fear of going down. That is what is guiding a football club. I know a lot of people who have drifted away from Newcastle, in terms of fans, the crowds have more or less held up but a lot of people of my generation and older have drifted away because of that sense of what a club is about and what it should be for them has gone.

Fly: The only excitement is experienced in surviving.

GC: Yes. But to what end? To do it again the next year?

Fly: We are standing here at Rockcliffe next to the HQ for Middlesbrough and we are riding high second in the league. We were able to crush Wolves recently in the Capital One Cup when we both had made multiple changes but our second eleven looked a league above. So, we have real strength in depth.

GC: Yes. I have not seen Middlesbrough so far this season and I must rectify that as quickly as I can. From the outside, the pleasing thing is what happened at the end of last season there hasn’t been a reaction to that, in terms of hangover, in terms of disappointment. That can happen; it is quite easy for that mood to infiltrate a club and for that disappointment to linger. I know that Aitor Karanka wouldn’t stand for that but there is this feeling of relentlessness. That they have gone again and they have set their stall out very early which is very encouraging. Yes, it does feel like Middlesbrough is a beacon of hope here at the minute.

There is a big online auction at present being previewed at the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation site and lots more details about the amazing charity.

sir bobby logo



Reforging The Sampo

Middlesbrough’s Central Library will be hosting an evening of contemporary poetry on Thursday, October 22 from 7pm-9.30pm. Reforging The Sampo is part of the Discover Middlesbrough fortnight, expect mythology, folklore and lots of contemporary comment. High velocity poetry.

Reforging The Sampo with Andy Willoughby and Bob Beagrie is a multi-voiced, musical mash-up of mythological and contemporary social commentary across a landscape of love, loss and endless questing for the shamanic holy grail of Finnish legend.

Developed over ten years this spoken word performance with improvised music and sound effects is unique in contemporary poetry.

Fusing crafted verse with beat- style performance and storytelling, Bob Beagrie and Andy Willoughby take their cue from the National Finnish Epic Kalevala to weave travelogue with love lyrics, folk song and a witty graveyard humour typical of their Teesside roots.

Their raggle-taggle band of folk and jazz musicians help them recreate and conjure up the archetypes of wizardry, animalistic shamanism, ice queens, vagabonds, warriors and lovers lost to the flow in a world of decaying industry, karaoke kings and conveyor belt game show prizes.

Reflecting Beagrie and Willoughby’s long engagement with the poets and culture of The Baltic, the sequence of poems included in this performance have been published in English by Red Squirrel Press and translated and published in both Finnish and Estonian.

Tickets are £3, places are limited and must be booked on 01642 729002.







The three quarters of a century that Middlesbrough’s only Grade I listed building spent as a school will be explored in a talk today.

Fresh from taking on the part fo the architect of the Empire Theatre last Friday night Martin Peagam shifts roles to make the presentation on Acklam Hall’s full 300-year history, with the main focus on the last 80 years.

The talk will take place at Middlesbrough’s Central Library later today, Monday, October 19, twice, first from 1pm-2pm and then again from 5.30pm-6.30pm.

Eighty years ago Acklam Hall entered a new phase in its history when it became a school.
After almost 250 years as the family home of the Hustlers, the Hall became Acklam Hall School, heralding a period of almost 75 years when the building would provide education to the people of Middlesbrough.
In its next phase it is due to become a restaurant, wedding venue and conference centre.

You can expect plenty of school day memories and no doubt lots of entertainment, Martin never fails but to deliver witty and infomative talks. He will be keen to push the positive future the prospects of the building as well as its distinguished past.
The talk complements the exhibition of photographs and other material about Acklam Hall being held at the Central Library.

Attendance is free but places must be booked on 01642 729002.

Children are welcome but must be accompanied by an adult.



A cycle ride celebrating the origin of Middlesbrough’s name will take place this weekend.

As part of the ongoing Discover Middlesbrough celebrations, a ride with a shared distance of 200km is planned – without it ever leaving the town.

The distance is based on the belief that Middlesbrough’s name derives from it being the middle point, or “middle borough”, between the two historic churches of Whitby and Durham – 200km apart.

It is hoped as many people as possible will combine to take on laps of the 1km-long Middlesbrough Cycle Circuit to complete the whole distance.

The event will take place at the circuit, at Middlesbrough Sports Village on Alan Peacock Way, on Saturday, October 17 from 1pm-2pm.

BBC Tees reporter Lisa McCormick, tested out her new bike around the circuit this morning. She was attempting to prove that she was more than a match for her radio sparring partner, Ali Brownlee, who cycled from Whitby for charity in the summer as part of the Fat Lads and Lasses.

mbro cycle circuit webThanks to that marathon ride Ali is no longer a fat lad if he ever was. Lisa really enjoyed herself this morning. She didn’t quite manage to match Ali’s feat even with Chris Orr, Middlesbrough Council Cycling Officer chipping in a good 25 Km. But she wasn’t far short of the mark, in a very brief time span.

Cllr Lewis Young, Executive Member for Culture, Leisure and Sport, said: “This fun event is designed to celebrate Middlesbrough’s history and also to enjoy cycling in a fun community environment.

“It is free to take part and we have a range of bikes available to use on the day – including for people with disabilities – and it is also an opportunity for those who have not yet done so to see the Sports Village, velodrome and cycle circuit.

“We hope as many people of any age or ability come along and ride as many or as few laps as they can to help us reach the target.”

Middlesbrough was recently selected as part of next summer’s Tour de Yorkshire and will soon also have a velodrome track. So cycling is very much in the fabric of the town. This is your chance to get out on two wheels, bikes are provided and cycle in the name of Middledsbrough.

For more information