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Families and friends of Newcastle 'superfans' gather at stadium one year on

Sir Bobby Robson Foundation of Lady Elsie Robson (left) and John Alder's sister, Joyce Robbins. Credit: PA

Friends and the families of two football superfans who died in the MH17 disaster will gather at the stadium where they spent some of their happiest times.

John Alder, 63, and Liam Sweeney, 28, were friends who were travelling to New Zealand to watch their much loved team play in a pre-season tour when they were killed one year ago.

The club built a memorial outside St James' Park for the fans whose memories have been kept alive by fans applauding in the 17th minute of every game.

Liam's father Barry travelled to Holland this week to meet other bereaved families.

t was very emotional. All went well from start to finish. I have met lots of nice people out there. We will be in touch forever.

– Liam's father Barry

Mr Alder's family will also be at the memorial. He had had missed one Newcastle match in 40 years and was the first to person buy a Platinum Club membership at the stadium.

An anonymous friend has pledged £5,000 to the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation to take over the bond which gives fans enhanced membership.

The last year has been a rollercoaster really. It's difficult to explain. Sometimes I've felt like we were living someone else's life. We've had so much to do and become so involved with John's life, even though he wasn't here, that it's been like walking in his shoes. We became his representative. It's been very difficult, and extremely painful at times, but we've had fantastic support from so many people, from football fans, Newcastle United, and so many strangers, too many to name. And by helping the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation we feel like we're doing something positive. It's been a focus on something good in a bad situation and that's really made a difference for us all.


Sir Bobby's widow Lady Elsie joined her at John's seat in St James' Park ahead of the memorial, and said: "It's impossible to understand what John and Liam's family and friends have been through in the past year."

  1. ITV Report

MH17: One year on



Security workers detained in India expected to face new charges

Nick Dunn Credit: ITV Tyne Tees

Six Britons detained in India for 21 months over alleged weapons offences have been told this morning that they will go on trial.

One of the men is Nick Dunn from Ashington.

He was part of a crew providing security for shipping - which also included Paul Towers from York and Nicholas Simpson from Catterick.

Police in India have successfully appealed an earlier decision to drop the charges.

Fathers for Justice protestor leaves Trip Advisor review of his Tyne Bridge stay

Simon Anderton reviewed his Tyne Bridge stay on Trip Advisor Credit: Fathers for Justice

Fathers for Justice protestor Simon Anderton who scaled the Tyne bridge on Father's Day has posted a review on Trip Advisor of his stay.

He posted the review titled “Self catering facility in the penthouse suite” on 26 June - five days into his stay on top of the bridge.

In it, Mr Anderton said he is currently halfway through a two-week stay on top of the iconic landmark.

The review has since been deleted but included a list of negatives and positives including 'no stairs to reach my room' and a lack of 'toilet facilities' although he did say he'd been 'improvising'.

In the list of positives he includes 'spectacular views over a beautiful city and a 'central location'.

The review ends with the 56-year-old saying: “I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my first week here and hope the weather improves for week two.”

Mr Anderton, 56, who has five children, has said he has not seen his youngest two daughters for 14 years and sold his house to to fund his family court battle.

In previous protests he has scaled Westminster Abbey, spent 9 days on the roof of Metro Radio studios and occupied the Tyne Bridge for 3 days in 2008.

Mr Anderton has said he is dedicating this protest, which he says will be his last, to the memory of fellow activist Elaine Downes who lost her battle with cancer in 2012.

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