Tyne & Wear

MH17 victim John Alder's match-day memorabilia raises £26,000

Auction viewing Image copyright Longstone
Image caption Mr Alder's collection of programmes and memorabilia was divided into 225 lots at St James' Park

A collection of match programmes belonging to a Newcastle United fan killed in the MH17 plane disaster have raised £26,000 at auction.

John Alder, 63, of Low Fell, Gateshead, missed just one game in 40 years.

The programmes went under the hammer at St James' Park with proceeds going to the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation.

They included one from the pre-season friendly against Oldham just a few days before Mr Alder's death in July.

Other key lots featured the 1924 Newcastle United v Aston Villa FA Cup Final programme, which sold for £3,200, and one for the 1970 Fairs Cup tie between Pecsi Dozsa and Newcastle, which raised £1,800.

'His passion'

Mr Alder's sister Joyce Robbins said: "It's very mixed emotions for me.

"It's really good to see people getting behind the auction, but John should still be here collecting them.

"There should be another 20 boxes. His life was cut short. It was so precious to him. It was his passion, his obsession."

Image copyright Alder family/PA Wire
Image caption John Alder was on his way to New Zealand to watch Newcastle United when he died
Image copyright Longstone
Image caption Sir Bobby Robson's widow, Lady Robson, left, sat with Mr Alder's sister, Joyce Robbins

Explaining the family's decision to sell the collection for the foundation, which aids cancer research and treatment, she said they wanted to "have some benefit come out of a horrendous event".

The organisation's Liz Luff described the auction as a "bittersweet occasion".

She said: "For John's family it must be very strange seeing his treasured collection go off to other people.

"Equally, it's going to benefit a lot of people.

"We've been able to do something very special and hopefully people who have bid on the items will go on and treasure them just as John did."

Mr Alder, from Low Fell, was one of 298 people killed when Malaysia Airways flight MH17 crashed in Ukraine.

He was travelling to New Zealand with fellow fan Liam Sweeney, 28, to watch the team play a pre-season tournament.

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