Heartbreak as charity shop set up in honour of Charlie and Carter Cookson targeted by shoplifters

Administrator Kimberley Richardson, charity manager Joanne Nicholson and store manager Jacqueline Stidolph.
Administrator Kimberley Richardson, charity manager Joanne Nicholson and store manager Jacqueline Stidolph.

A charity set up in the memory of two tragic brothers to help families of seriously ill children has been targeted by shoplifters.

Sarah Cookson, who set up The Charlie and Carter Foundation with her husband Chris, says it breaks their hearts to think that people are stealing from their boys’ shop.

Chris and Sarah Cookson when they opened the charity shop in 2017

Chris and Sarah Cookson when they opened the charity shop in 2017

Now charity bosses say the shop, at the Denmark Centre in Fowler Street, South Shields, has allegedly been targeted by a number of shoplifters in recent weeks.

Bosses believe £200 worth of items kindly donated to the cause have been stolen by callous thieves in 10 days - including curtains, a £100 coffee maker and even a tea set.

The foundation was set up as a lasting legacy to South Shields couple Chris and Sarah’s two sons, Charlie and Carter.

Sarah said: “It breaks my heart to think that people could steal from our boys’ shop knowing that what we are trying to do in their name is to help people.”

Carter Cookson was born on Boxing Day.

Carter Cookson was born on Boxing Day.

Joanne Nicholson, charity manager at the foundation, added: “We are so proud of the charity and everything we do is for the families that we help.

“It’s all done in Charlie and Carter’s names, it’s very personal to us all. It’s like they’re stealing from the boys. It’s their legacy and it’s to help other children.

“At the end of the day, it is a charity shop it’s just really heartbreaking.”

Joanne says they are now looking for more volunteers who are willing to give their time to work in the shop.

Charlie Cookson.

Charlie Cookson.

It is hoped that the more people there are in Cookson T-shirts, the greater the deterrent to any opportunistic thieves.

More than £183,000 has been raised by the Foundation to support 62 families with seriously ill children.

Chris and Sarah set up The Charlie Cookson Foundation after they lost their first son when he was just two years old in October 2013.

The couple were hit by a second heartbreak when their second son, Carter, passed away while on an organ donation waiting list for a heart transplant.

In February, the foundation changed its name to the Charlie and Carter Foundation to honour the brothers.

A Northumbria Police spokesperson said: “We recognise the significance of retail crime and the impact it can have on shop owners and employees.

“We do work closely with local businesses and charitable organisations to put preventative measures in place and our neighbourhood teams will use data around shoplifting, so it is important victims do report incidents to police.”