Charlie’s birthday to be remembered as charity expands

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A charity aims to launch the next stage of its fundraising efforts on what will be the sixth birthday of the boy who inspired its work.

The Charlie Cookson Foundation was set up in honour of the South Shields youngster who died in 2013 from a mystery condition and offers financial help to the families of seriously ill children.

We made a real push to make sure it was ready for Charlie’s birthday.

Sarah Cookson

It is preparing to welcome supporters to its third shop - which will open tomorrow in the section of the Denmark Centre which opens out on to Fowler Street in South Shields.

The grand unveiling will take place at 1pm, with the store to then open from Monday to Saturday thanks to a team of volunteers who will be backed by a manager.

The venture has been made possible thanks to a £40,000 donation from the Kavli Trust, which owns the Primula Cheese brand, which will cover the shop’s running costs for two years.

The shop, which will sell pre-loved items, has also been backed by Barclays and series of tradespeople to get it ready.

The new shop will join one which already runs in Perth Green Community Centre in Jarrow and a market stall run by Charlie’s nanna Diane Howe in South Shields.

The charity, which has an office in South Shields Business Works in Henry Robson Way, is on the cusp of helping its 40th family.

Charlie’s mum Sarah, who launched the organisation with husband Chris, said: “We made a real push to make sure it was ready for Charlie’s birthday.

“All the money we raise from our shops, fundraising events and donations generously given to us by people go to help others and we want to help even more.”