Tributes as little battler Charlie loses fight for life

HAPPIER TIMES ... Charlie Cookson with parents Sarah and Chris.
HAPPIER TIMES ... Charlie Cookson with parents Sarah and Chris.

“HE will never be forgotten.”

The words of heartbroken mum Sarah Cookson will be shared across South Tyneside today after her courageous son Charlie lost his long battle for life.

The two-and-a-half-year-old boy spent much of his all too brief life in hospital remaining a mystery to doctors who treated him for a number of health problems while attempting to diagnose his exact condition.

It was a fight that saw him examined by specialists from London’s Great Ormond Street Hospital

Charlie, of Simonside, South Shields, overcame a number of serious illnesses – including meningitis and septicaemia – and underwent several operations, including two hernia repairs and a brain biopsy.

More recently, he returned to Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary where he also battled against Clostridium difficile, a potentially deadly bacteria.

It was that bravery that saw him named one of the children of courage at this year’s Pride of South Tyneside awards.

But tragically, shortly after 8pm on Tuesday night, his devastated parents Sarah and Chris said their final goodbyes to a boy whose story touched thousands of Gazette readers, who had supported fundraising campaigns.

However, despite the sadness, the couple have vowed Charlie’s spirit will live on through a charity foundation in his name to help other parents who find themselves in a similar situation.

Sarah, 37, said Charlie’s health had been deteriorating over the last few weeks. On Tuesday, he had been suffering from seizures and rising carbon dioxide levels in his body.

Sarah added: “He had been having more and more seizures and we could just tell from his eyes that he had had enough. We knew then that he had lost the fight.

“We are absolutely devastated. We never thought it would come to this, it’s absolutely heartbreaking.

“Charlie is at peace now. For the first time in a while he just looked so peaceful and we have taken comfort from that.

“People have been so kind and supportive to us over the last few years. We cannot thank Gazette readers enough for all of the help they have given us.”

Tributes poured in for the battling boy on social networking sites, including Twitter and Facebook, after Sarah and Chris revealed the devastating news.

Charlie was born full-term on April 13, 2011, weighing 5lbs 6.5oz and spent the first two months of his life in the special care baby unit at Newcastle’s RVI as doctors tried to stabilise his weight and fight off an unknown infection. Inspired by his bravery, South Tynesiders and Gazette readers backed fundraising ventures to raise the money for the specialist medical and play equipment Charlie needed for everyday life, as well as to help his parents build a downstairs extension to their house so they can adapt to their son’s needs.

Now Sarah is determined that same level of support will be given to other parents who finds themselves in a similar situation.

She added: “We are determined Charlie’s name will live on. We’ll continue in his memory. We are going to set up a Charlie Cookson Foundation in his name to help other poorly children out there.

“Charlie only had a short time with us but he fought so hard. He did not die in vain. He will never be forgotten.”

Twitter: @shieldsgazvez