The emotional reason a Newcastle United emblazoned car is journeying through Europe

The car will finish its journey in Barcelona, the site of some memorable Newcastle United times in Europe

A car emblazoned with the colours of Newcastle United has set off from St. James’ Park on a long journey across Europe to raise money for the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation.

49-year-old Lee Perkins is the man behind the fundraiser and is taking on the challenge for very personal reasons.

Lee said: “Last August I went out for a walk and felt absolutely fine but, when I came home, I went to the toilet and was shocked to see a lot of blood. I felt really terrible after that and after a couple of hours I was unable to move and needed an ambulance.

“I was subsequently diagnosed with a tumour in my right kidney and was told the safest thing they could do would be to remove the whole kidney.

“It all came completely out of the blue and I know I’ve been very lucky that the cancer was discovered early. That operation at the Freeman Hospital in October saved my life.”

Lee has set off on his journey in what he describes as a ‘banger’ car which, as well as the football club’s colours, features Newcastle’s landmarks and drawings from children on the cancer ward.

The trip will take Lee and his friend Neil Sullivan from St. James’ Park to the Freeman Hospital to show off the car, and then onwards through the UK, to the Swiss and Italian Alps, by the French Riveria and finishing in Barcelona.

Lee has dreamt up the challenge himself

Lee hopes to raise awareness, as well as money for the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation whilst on the trip.

The Foundation launched in 2008 and it has gone on to raise over £16m to help find more effective ways to detect and treat cancer, working within the NHS and in partnership with other leading charities and organisations.

Teri Bayliss is the Director of Newcastle Hospitals Charity and was at St. James’ Park to set Lee off.

She said: “We’re absolutely amazed by Lee, the effort he has put in and the whole team behind him.

The front of the car

“Lee came to us with this idea not very long ago and the fact he’s turned it around and is feeling fit and well enough to make the journey... he’s achieved a huge amount in a short space of time.

“His fundraising efforts have been phenomenal. He’s raised over £40,000 to date for the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation and the Northern Centre for Cancer Care. It’s support from people like Lee that allows us to do really important things for our patients and staff.”

You can support Lee’s journey here.