Heart charity Red Sky Foundation calls on Sunderland schoolchildren to come up with full-hearted mascot name suggestions

A growing North East heart charity has welcomed the newest addition to its team – and is now calling on Sunderland schoolchildren to help choose its name.

Thursday, 18th November 2021, 6:02 pm

Red Sky Foundation, which supports cardiac-related causes across the region, helping babies, children and adults living with heart conditions, has unveiled its new mascot.

The large, bright red, heart-shaped character wears a dress decorated with the foundation’s logo of a little girl blowing a soap bubble in a North Easterly direction – representing the fragile hearts the charity aims to help fix across the region.

Now, the charity is calling on Wearside schoolchildren to think up a fitting name for the organisation’s newest member – who has already been spotted at a CPR information session held this autumn in the city’s Bridges shopping centre.

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The co-founder of Red Sky Foundation, Sergio Petrucci (right), joined by the charity's as-yet-unnamed mascot.

Through the initiative, Sunderland primary schools will receive competition entry forms, which will include a colouring-in component. Children across the city have until Friday, December 10, to submit their illustrations and suggestions for a suitable name.

Entries can be handed in to Everyone Active leisure centres at the Aquatic Centre, Washington, Houghton, Silksworth, Hetton and Raich Carter Centre, Hendon.

Judges from Red Sky Foundation, Everyone Active and SAFC will choose a favourite and the winning entry will be announced at the Sunderland v Fleetwood League 1 match, which kicks off at 1pm on Sunday, January 2.

And the winner will receive an Everyone Active aqua inflatable pool party set for their class at school, as well as tickets to the game at the Stadium of Light, where the name-reveal ceremony will take place.

Since its launch in 2016, Red Sky Foundation reports having raised hundreds of thousands of pounds to help purchase life-saving equipment for the children’s heart unit at Newcastle’s Freeman Hospital, Sunderland Royal’s neonatal ward and the James Cooke hospital in Teesside.

Over the last 18 months, the charity has also helped place more than 50 defibrillators at schools and public places – including 23 to help patients on the covid wards in Sunderland Royal Hospital.

Sergio Petrucci founded the charity with wife, Emma, after their daughter, Luna, underwent open heart surgery at Newcastle’s Freeman Hospital, just days before her second birthday in 2015.

He said it was only fitting that the city’s children should be the ones to name the mascot.

"Children are at the forefront of everything we do,” he said.

“And we trust them to find the perfect name.”

Ian Bradgate, area contract manager at Everyone Active, said the organisation was “proud to support" the Red Sky Foundation.

“The work they do doesn’t just change lives,” he said, “it helps save them – and we didn’t think twice about offering our centres as collection points for entries.”

SAFC was also keen to offer its support, with Head of Marketing Michael Laidler saying that the match against Fleetwood would be “the perfect occasion at which to announce the winning entry.

“There will be a fantastic atmosphere, anyway. But I know the crowds on both sides will really get behind this and give a huge cheer for the winner.”

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