The Port of Tyne will push the boat out at the official naming ceremony of a new dredger to be named in honour of football legend Sir Bobby Robson.
The £1m vessel arrived at the Port at the end of December and has been undergoing rigorous trials and crew training.
Sir Bobby’s widow and son, Lady Elsie Robson and Andrew Robson will attend the ceremony at the Customs House Pontoon, South Shields, on Monday, March 5th. Lady Robson will officially "launch" the boat in the time honoured tradition, by breaking a bottle of champagne on its hull.
There will be a blessing by the seafarers’ chaplain, Pat Bealing, and Lady Robson will be the first official passenger on board.
A competition was held for port employees and families to choose the name. The winner was Ben Nicholson, 13, from Chester-le-Street, who is the Harbour Master Mike Nicholson’s youngest son.
"It was a unanimous decision to choose this name for the new dredger – Sir Bobby Robson is a legend who still inspires pride and passion," said Andrew Moffat, Port of Tyne’s Chief Executive Officer.
"This will be a very hard working boat, playing an integral part in the important job of ensuring the Tyne can continue to accommodate some of the world’s biggest cargo ships, and we’re honoured that it will carry Sir Bobby Robson’s name."
The Port of Tyne decided to mark the occasion with a donation to the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation and also announced a programme of support for junior grassroots sport, working in partnership with, among others, Newcastle United and Sunderland AFC’s Foundations, Westoe Rugby Club and Durham County Cricket Club Foundation.
"We are proud to support initiatives that provide young people with the opportunities to develop their skills and confidence – all of which should help them later in life," added Andrew Moffat.
Lady Elsie Robson says: "It’s a great honour to have a boat named after my husband and I’m sure he would have greatly appreciated it too.
"I’m grateful to Port of Tyne for making such a wonderful gesture and also for their generous donation to the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation."
The Sir Bobby Robson will play a vital role at the Port of Tyne, working to plough the riverbed and keep river depths maintained following a £5m major dredging campaign in 2011 which made the river deeper than ever before.