The parents of a baby boy who suffered three cardiac arrests shortly after being born have made a desperate appeal to find him a new heart, amid fears he may have just three days to live.

Sarah and Chris Cookson, 40, have been told that a heart transplant is the only hope of saving their son Carter, who was born prematurely at Newcastle’s Royal Victoria Infirmary on Boxing Day.

The couple, from South Shields, lost their first son, Charlie, at the age of two in 2013 after he had battled a mysterious, progressive condition.

Following his death, the pair set up the Charlie Cookson Foundation in a bid to support other families with seriously ill children.

They had described Carter as their “miracle” baby, but are now keeping vigil at his bedside at Newcastle’s Freeman Hospital, after he was born with heart problems.

He underwent surgery just a week after his birth, but the operation to drain one side of his heart and install a pacemaker was not as successful as had been hoped, and his family now face a race against time to find him a new heart.

Carter Cookson has been given only hours to live. Credit: GoFundMe/PA

Mr Cookson described his frustration at the unique circumstance of needing a heart transplant for a newborn baby.

"You can't fix him, you can't go out and buy a heart, you can't do a medical procedure", he said.

"As parents you should be able to protect your children but we can't - that's the really hard part."

Carter's mother, Sarah, said: "We've got to pray to God that something comes for him within a very short space of time."

Carter has been hooked up to an Ecmo machine, which is pumping blood around his body in order to keep him alive, but his parents have been told that complications with the machine mean that he may have less than 72 hours left to live.

Family friend Angela Moore has launched a GoFundMe page in a bid to raise money in order to support the couple, and has so far raised over £1,800.

She said: “Sarah and Chris are suffering so much pain and heartache at the moment as they watch their new born, second son, Carter John, fight for his life.

”Since their older son Charlie gained his angel wings, they have dedicated their lives to raising much needed funds to help families of children with life limiting conditions.

“But now I'm appealing for any other families out there to step forward and help them.

”If there are any parents out there grieving the loss of their own child, please consider organ donation so you could possibly save another child's life.“