Heart campaigner wants Sunderland to turn red

The British Heart Foundation have awarded Michael Roper a Volunteer of the Year award at this years Volunteer week as part of a national celebrations of volunteering.
The British Heart Foundation have awarded Michael Roper a Volunteer of the Year award at this years Volunteer week as part of a national celebrations of volunteering.
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A HEART health campaigner wants to see Wearside turn red tomorrow.

Friday is the British Heart Foundation’s (BHF) annual fund-raising day

Called Rock Up in Red, the national awareness campaign hopes people in Sunderland will pay £2 to wear something red to show their support in the fight against heart and circulatory disease.

Heart disease is still the UK’s single biggest killer.

Michael Roper, secretary of the Sunderland branch of the BHF, said he hopes as many people as possible, get involved in the event.

Michael, of Pennywell, says recent stories in the Echo on heart defect baby Layla Davis, and drummer Kev Breckon, who died on stage just over a year ago during a gig in Sunderland, have highlighted the devastating effect heart illnesses can have.

Michael, 63, whose own heart problems began in 1996, said: “We’ve seen the stories about that little baby, and the drummer who died so suddenly which shows it doesn’t just affect old people.”

Despite the tough economic climate continuing to hit the people of Wearside, Michael says the branch managed to raise more cash than expected this year.

“Obviously with the way things are, charities are feeling the pinch right now,” said Michael.

“But up to last Christmas we had raised £16,000 and we usually raise about £12,000 in a year so we are looking to do really well by the time we announce our fund-raising for the year in March.”

“We don’t need to go and ambush people for them to donate, they just come up to us and give us their money which we are extremely grateful for.”

Michael and other supporters of the charity’s Sunderland branch will be at Asda, in Pennywell Shopping Centre, on Saturday to collect money.

Members will also be at Morrisons in Doxford Park on February 14 and 15, selling BHF hearts to coincide with Valentine’s Day.

For more on the Rock Up in Red campaign go to www.bhf.org.uk/red

Twitter: @davidallison88