South Tyneside firm backs lifesaving charity.

A South Tyneside firm is helping save lives by fitting defibrillators in public places for a charity.

By Tom Patterson
Friday, 1st July 2022, 8:01 pm
Neil Henry, left, and Paul Smith, right, of HLA Services, with Sergio Petrucci, Red Sky Foundation founder.
Neil Henry, left, and Paul Smith, right, of HLA Services, with Sergio Petrucci, Red Sky Foundation founder.

HLA Services, which is based in Boldon, has so far fitted 16 life-saving defibrillators across South Tyneside and Wearside, after teaming up with the Red Sky Foundation, which is working to make more of the life-saving devices avaiable across the region.

Since it was awarded full charitable status in March 2020, Red Sky Foundation has – with the help of businesses like building maintenance speclaists HLA - supplied 110 defibrillators.

So far, 47 of the machines have been deployed 118 times to help people who suffered heart attacks.

The firm got involved in the project following the death of West Boldon businessman, Jon Woodhouse – a friend of HLA directors Paul Smith and Neil Henry.

Mr Henry said: “There is nothing more precious than life and we are delighted to play our part in helping to protect the people of South Tyneside and Wearside.

“When someone has a heart attack, time is everything. We know that those with access to community defibrillators have a better chance of surviving.

"The chances of a victim surviving decrease by up to 10% for every minute they do not receive rapid defibrillation.”

He added: “The loss of our friend Jon Woodhouse and what we have learned by assisting Red Sky Foundation, means that as a business in a position to help, we will continue to offer our services because it is the right thing to do.”

Locally, Red Sky Foundation public access defibrillators are stationed at East Boldon Infant School, Funky Buddha Café, South Shields; West Park Bowling Club, The Grey Horse, East Boldon; The Stadium of Light ticket office, the Ashley Pub, South Shield; the Colonel Prior, Sunderland; Alberta Social Club, Jarrow, and Cleadon Village Pharmacy.

Sergio Petrucci, who founded Red Sky Foundation with his wife Emma after their daughter received life-saving heart surgery at Newcastle’s Freeman Hospital, said: “Like all charities, we rely heavily upon the support of businesses such as HLA Services.

“We have been able to place over 110 defibrillators in communities with many more in the pipeline.”