Cyclists pedal their way to £23,000 for Sunderland's Red Sky charity

Cyclists from across the North East have pedalled from Edinburgh to Sunderland, raising more than £23,000 for heart charity Red Sky Foundation.

The charity’s founder Sergio Petrucci organised the ride along the popular Coast and Castles route, but ended at Roker rather than Newcastle. Last year they did the Coast-to-coast Whitehaven to Sunderland route.

The 160-mile route took three days. The riders were cheered when leaving Edinburgh by a chorus of applause and bagpipes.

Three support vans tracked and supported the riders, providing snacks and drinks when needed, while a film crew captured the journey.

There were great scenes when the 160-mile ride ended in Roker.

The money will buy equipment for cardiac wards in hospitals across the North East including Sunderland’s neonatal ward, also public defibrillators, help teach children and adults CPR and support people of all ages with serious heart conditions.

Red Sky Foundation’s mission is to improve the lives of people needing cardiac care who are born with or develop heart conditions, by providing lifelong support to them and their families.

Sergio said: “It was lovely to be sent on our way by the bagpipes and on the first day we cycled from Musselburgh to Berwick where we stayed the night. Our second day we cycled from Berwick to beautiful Amble. On our last day we cycled home from Amble.

“We arrived to a massive Roker roar from members of the public, family and friends who had lined Marine Walk and for the last mile or so we were escorted by two electric vehicles from Mercedes Benz of Sunderland, one of our sponsors.

“I’d like to thank all of the riders, our brilliant support team, our corporate partners and generous sponsors for making the ride such a fantastic success.”

Rob Lawson, former Echo editor and one of the riders, added: “The scenery was stunning and the ride was well organised.

"It was tough going in places, but the camaraderie among the group kept you going; as did the knowledge that we were raising money for a very worthwhile cause.”

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The foundation also assists with the provision of life saving equipment and raises awareness to support the children’s heart unit at Newcastle's Freeman Hospital, other cardiac hospital units and other regional health services within the NHS and other charities.

The total raised is currently £23,025, but people can still donate at www.redskyfoundation.com.