Strictly star Faye Tozer among guests at Sunderland couple's '˜out of this world' charity brunch
Strictly star Faye Tozer took a break from tripping the light fantastic on the hit TV show to let her hair down at a Durham charity event.
The Steps singer, who lives in Boldon with her Sunderland-born husband, was among the guests at a White Party brunch hosted by Red Sky Ball, a charity set up by Sunderland couple Sergio and Emma Petrucci from Tunstall.
The couple, who are friends with Faye, founded the charity in 2016 to raise funds for Children’s Heart Unit (CHUF) at the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle after staff at the unit saved the life of their daughter Luna.
Sunday afternoon’s brunch, which was held at Ramside Hall Hotel, raised £24,238.
Sergio, who is also dad to Enzo, said: “It was a fantastic event, really out of this world.
“With everyone dressed in white it looked like you were in heaven, it certainly wasn’t your typical Sunday afternoon.
“We had some great prizes on the day including flights to Dubai, which helped us raise £24,238.
“This money will fund a specialist Fontan Nurse at The Freeman Hospital and this appointment will be the very first anywhere in the UK.
“The dedicated nurse will care for children born with only one pump working in their heart who have to undergo a series of operations that aim to make the best use of the one pump they have.
“Without the surgery children become blue, sleep longer and become more breathless and stop growing.”
Highlights on the day also included stilt walkers and live performances including a set from DJ Brandon Block.
Though Faye, who is partnered with Giovanni Pernice in Strictly Come Dancing, hit the dancefloor it was purely for pleasure.
Sergio said: “She wasn’t working or booked to come along through work.
“She’s a lovely girl and has become a friend over the past couple of years, so came along with her girlfriends. It was a bit of time out from Strictly.”
Over the years Sergio and Emma’s charitable efforts have raised around £250,000 for CHUF.
The annual Red Sky Ball continues to attract support from a number of commercial partners from the region and beyond, including Emirates, Specsavers, Ashford Orthodontics, AR Controls and Mercedes.
The funds raised go direct to fund lifesaving equipment for young children with heart problems to make treatment easier, including state-of-the-art machines which keep transplant organs viable for 24 hours giving patients a better chance of survival.
CHUF is one of only two units in the UK supporting babies and children who require heart transplants.
More than 300 children each year are cared for at the heart unit, 20 will receive heart transplants and over 7,000 will return for outpatient visits.
About 10% of the youngsters under treatment are from the Wearside area.