Panto-goers urged to spare some magic beans for a good cause

Panto-goers are being asked to dig deep for charity after a little girl's fight for life inspired a huge fundraising drive.

Tuesday, 19th December 2017, 11:02 am
Updated Tuesday, 19th December 2017, 11:05 am
Luna Petrucci and dad Sergio, bottom right, with the cast of Jack and the Beanstalk

Two years ago Luna Petrucci from Ashbrooke, who is now four, underwent life-saving treatment on two holes in her heart at the Children’s Heart Unit (CHUF), at Newcastle’s Freeman Hospital. Her parents Sergio and Emma were so thankful to the unit that they set about raising tens of thousands of pounds for its vital work through their Red Sky Ball fund. This year, the Sunderland Empire threw its weight behind the cause, making it their chosen charity for 2017. As the year draws to a close, theatre-goers are being asked to donate at performances of panto Jack and the Beanstalk.

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Ben Phillips, theatre director at Sunderland Empire, said: “We have seen immense generosity from patrons at bucket collections over the year and we would urge visitors to Jack and the Beanstalk to spare a few beans for this worthy cause. I’ve been delighted to see my team get behind our Charity of the Year and organise a number of successful fundraisers to secure further donations for Red Sky Ball for CHUF, with funds raised benefiting many families across the North East.”

Red Sky Ball for CHUF aims to make life that little bit more comfortable for families, whether it be providing a parent’s emergency wash bag, games or the essential equipment and machinery needed to save little lives.

Sergio said: “From initial set up of Red Sky Ball we have raised £140,000 to date, this has helped fund two echo scanner machines and a specialist heart transplant machine to keep hearts viable for up to 24 hours.”