A BOLDON man’s fundraising campaign in memory of his brother has raised thousands of pounds for a leading North East heart charity.

After losing his brother Jon Woodhouse to a sudden cardiac arrest in October last year, Chris Woodhouse set up an appeal to raise money for the Red Sky Foundation – a regional charity supporting those with heart issues and their families.

And thanks to the generosity of the local community, Chris’ campaign reached nearly £5000 in donations – which has funded the installation of four lifesaving defibrillators in the Boldon area.

The first one is already in place at Boldon Post Office, installed by Boldon Business Park-based facilities management company HLA Services, with the others to be installed in Cleadon, East Boldon and Boldon Colliery.

Following his successful campaign, Chris has also decided to organise an annual sponsored walk in to raise further funds for the charity, with the defibrillators acting as marker points along the trail.

Chris worked alongside Jon at their agency Redman Design, and is delighted to help fund the Red Sky Foundation’s lifesaving work.

“Amidst Jon’s tragic passing just two months ago, the fundraising and heartfelt generosity from people near and far is overwhelming and a testimony to how he touched people’s lives,” said Chris. 

“The installation of these defibrillators and the awareness that it has created can only be positive – the chance to save just one person’s life is immeasurable.

“As a group we intend on installing on a more widespread basis around the North East once the remaining three are in place.”

Sergio Petrucci, founder of the Red Sky Foundation, believes the devices are particularly welcome in South Tyneside, which has a relatively low number of defibrillators compared to neighbouring local authority areas.

“Around 5000 people die in the North East from sudden cardiac arrest each year, so it is really important that people have access to these lifesaving pieces of equipment and also know how to use them,” said Sergio.

“We will now be working closely with the Love Boldon Facebook page to increase awareness of the device and so that training is offered to as many people as possible.

“The Red Sky Foundation has a strong working partnership with the NHS and North East Ambulance Service and we are currently working on the first of several training sessions that will take place in the area as soon as it is deemed safe to do so.”

The North East charity has raised tens of thousands of pounds to buy vital equipment for the Children’s Heart Unit at the Freeman Hospital, including a unique organ care transplant system and funding a specialist Fontan nurse post in the region, the first of its kind in the UK.

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28 January 2021

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