Sleeping Beauty cast launch Charity of the Year for Sunderland Empire

  Sleeping Beauty, the pantomime of dreams is set to bed down at Sunderland Empire for the festive season and Balamory’s Andrew Agnew (Silly Billy) CBBC’s The Dumping Ground, Amy-Leigh Hickman (Princess Briar Rose) and the legendary Bobby Crush (Nurse Nelly) were on hand with Luna Petrucci to help launch the nominated charity of the year for Sunderland Empire in 2017 – Red Sky Ball for CHUF. Bucket collections continue throughout pantomime season for the 2016 charity of the year, Centrepoint, Sunderland which has seen immense generosity from patrons. Sunderland Empire are urging theatregoers to continue this generosity when collections start for Red Sky Ball for CHUF in January 2017 which will see a range of West End spectaculars hitting the stage including show stopping performances from Wonderland, The Wedding Singer, Dirty Dancing and Mamma Mia. Ben Phillips, General Manager, Sunderland Empire, said: “We are delighted to announce Red Sky Ball for CHUF as our chosen charity in 2017. We would like to thank our patrons for the substantial generosity they have shown to charity collections over the years and I’m sure this will continue with such a worthy cause.” Red Sky Ball was set up by Sergio Petrucci and his wife Emma after the care their daughter Luna received at the Children’s Heart Unit at the Freeman Hospital, which is one of only two specialist units in the UK that can carry out complex heart surgery on babies and children. 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, gadgets and games or the essential equipment and machinery needed to save little lives, every penny counts. Sergio Petrucci for Red Sky Ball said: “We’re humbled and thrilled that Sunderland Empire has chosen Red Sky Ball for CHUF as their nominated charity of the year for 2017 and supporting our cause in such a proactive manner.  As a heart family, we know only too well the enormous difference this type of support can make to the lives of more families in giving their children a chance at life. “2017 will be the 2nd anniversary since our daughter Luna had her life saving operation at the Children’s Heart Unit. Since her successful recovery, we’d always talked about doing something special to say a huge thank you to the doctors and nurses who cared for us as a family during what became the most stressful time of our lives.  This is how Red Sky Ball came about.” Chris Gray, CEO at CHUF said: “Sergio and Emma’s story is proof that CHUF’s reach now goes far beyond simply assisting the Children’s Heart Unit at the Freeman Hospital in Newcastle.  This is a world-leading unit and, as such, treats children from the wider North East region and right across the UK. We’re immensely grateful to everyone at the Sunderland Empire.” Sergio Petrucci for Red Sky Ball added: “Having seen first-hand how the vital money raised for CHUF is used, we set about creating Red Sky Ball where we could raise as much money as we could for this important charity.   We were astounded with the success that it generated.  Every single penny of profit raised goes directly to CHUF and, with the help of kind sponsors and partners, we’ve already donated a huge total of £47,000 to the unit. The teams who look after and support children in a similar situation to our daughter Luna are awe-inspiring. Luna is doing very well now – they saved her life. Red Sky Ball is our way of giving something back, we’re making a difference and changing children’s lives – we’re delighted Sunderland Empire Theatre can help too.”  Sleeping Beauty runs at Sunderland Empire from Friday 9 – Saturday 31 December 2016, tickets available from the Box Office on High Street West, via the ticket centre 0844 871 3022* or *calls cost up to 7p per minute plus standard network charges. Booking and transaction fees may apply to telephone and online bookings.  

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