ALMOST 800 people came together on Friday 8 March 2019 at the annual Red Sky Ball gala dinner, to raise over £55,000 for the Children’s Heart Unit Fund (CHUF).

The sell-out event was organised by Sergio and Emma Petrucci who have been raising money for CHUF ever since their daughter Luna received life-saving treatment from the Children’s Heart Unit at the Freeman at just two-years-old.

With the £55,000 raised at Friday’s event, the family have now raised in excess of £305,000 for CHUF in the past three years helping to fund state of the art machinery and equipment for the Freeman, Sunderland Royal and James Cook hospitals, helping to save the lives of cardio patients across our region.

Sergio Petrucci, founder of the Red Sky Ball and father to Luna said: “A huge thank you is in order for everyone who attended the Red Sky Ball 2019 and helped create the biggest and best fundraising event we’ve organised to date. The amount of support shown to help a local cause is unbelievable.

“We turned the city red, literally, as public buildings were lit red to increase awareness of what Red Sky Ball is and how it contributes to help provide more innovative lifesaving equipment and services across the North East. With so much support from hundreds of people and corporate partners from across the world, we are helping our local hospitals mend broken hearts.

“It’s been an extremely exciting yet stressful experience planning this year’s event, especially as Red Sky Ball is organised in my spare time. Selling tickets is the easy part, but with greater numbers then comes greater expectations from our guests.

“With so much space in the new venue, I had some crazy ideas of what I wanted everyone to experience on the night; and with the help of Ramside Hall’s Head Chef Mark Bennet, Tom Younger from Spectrum Fireworks and Chris Walton from Storm AV, they helped me create the most spectacular fundraising event.”

This year’s Red Sky Ball was once again hosted by entertainer Chris Walton and the evening started with a moving presentation from Dr David Crossland, Cardiologist at Newcastle’s Freeman Hospital.

Red Sky Ball was held at Sunderland’s newly built Beacon of Light for the first time. Guests were treated to outstanding food, entertainment and performances from an array of singers, dancers and aerial artists, with one lucky couple winning an amazing prize draw for a 3 night stay in Dubai’s JW Marriott Marquis, the tallest 5 star hotel in the world.

In honour of the event, key landmarks were lit up red on the night of the ball which included Sunderland Empire Theatre, Northern Spire Bridge, Penshaw Monument, Keel Square, Sunderland Lighthouse and the Beacon of Light.

Sergio added: “A heartfelt thank you must go to our corporate partners for supporting this year’s event, we couldn’t have done this, on such a huge scale, without you: AR Controls Ltd, Emirates, Everyone Active, Siglion, Smart Utility Management, Specsavers, Mercedes-Benz, Barclays, Richard Reed Solicitors, Elopa Estate Agents, Ramside Hall, Disruptieve and Poetic License.”

To contact Red Sky Ball for information on future partnerships and sponsorship opportunities, email info@redskyball.com.