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ByDave Stopher

May 25, 2020

A NORTH East fund-raising organisation initially set up to stage one event as a thank you to the Freeman Hospital Children’s Heart Unit has been granted charitable status.

And it coincides with a name change for the Red Sky Ball to the Red Sky Foundation, which more accurately reflects the range of activities and events it now undertakes.

The first Red Sky Ball took place in 2016, organised by Sunderland couple Sergio and Emma Petrucci to support the unit where their daughter Luna had life-saving treatment.

The event was such a huge success that it has become a regular date on the region’s calendar, leading to other fund-raising initiatives including the annual White Party.

Since its launch the organisation has raised hundreds of thousands of pounds to buy vital equipment for the Freeman Hospital, along with defibrillators to place in towns and city centres across the region and an organ care transplant system and also funded a specialist Fontan nurse post in the region.

With a successful application for charitable status, this means the Red Sky Foundation can now widens its net of supporters,

“Having full charitable status awarded to Red Sky Foundation will still enable us to work closely with the children’s heart unit and other cardiac related causes,” said Sergio.

“However, we will now be able to successfully receive grants from major funding bodies and work closely with some brilliant new partners who we were unable to approach before the certification.”

A board of trustees has now been appointed, including chartered accountant Glenn Martin of Avery Martin Accountants, local business leader David Bartell of Expert Tooling & Automation and fellow founding trustee, Andy Bradley, Centre Director of Bridges ,Sunderland.

“I felt honoured to be approached by the Red Sky Foundation to be a board member,” said Andy.

“The funds that have been raised so far from its supporters and the vital equipment purchased to date is testimony to how this new charity will operate going forward.”

For Sergio the new status gives the charity the opportunity to build on the success of the Red Sky brand so far.

I’m extremely proud to be at this point, after so much hard work has gone into making a difference to local, hospitals, schools, communities and city centre and hopefully we will create a legacy for the future.,” he said.

“I’ll never forget the enormity of the great work carried out by the NHS surgeons and nurses when they fixed our little girl’s broken heart when the red sky was filled with clouds rolling in to each other – which is where the Red Sky story really began.”

For more information and to find out how to get involved visit www.redskyfoundation.com