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Hundreds pay their respects at funeral of baby Carter Cookson

Carter Cookson funeral Photo: ITV News

By Kris Jepson

Hundreds of people turned out in South Shields to pay their respects at the funeral of baby, Carter Cookson, who died just three weeks after his birth.

The funeral service was held at St Michael and All Angels Church, in Mowbray Road, South Shields.

Carter was born on Boxing Day last year, but shortly after his birth he suffered three cardiac arrests.

He needed a heart transplant, but despite the best efforts of his parents, Chris and Sarah Cookson, to appeal to the national for a heart donation, he passed away on the 19 January.

Watch @krisjepson's report here:

Mourners wore a splash of blue at the request of the Cookson family to pay tribute to Carter, who in his very short life, raised awareness of organ donation and in turn inspired many people to consider signing up to the donation register.

During the service, songs were played, including 'Somewhere Over the Rainbow' by Eva Cassidy, 'Tears in Heaven' by Eric Clapton, and the hymn 'Oil in my Lamp'.

Carter's father, Chris delivered an emotional eulogy to his son, speaking about the precious eight hours his wife, Sarah, and he had with Carter on Boxing Day before he became ill.

Lots of tears and sniffles taking place during the service, but the music that was chosen was so fitting. The words that Chris spoke were awe inspiring, really, that he could manage to speak as eloquently as he did under the most horrendous of circumstances.

– Julie Rutledge, Family Friend
Carter Cookson funeral Credit: ITV News

The couple's first child, Charlie, died in 2013 at the age of two after living with a number of serious conditions.

They set up The Charlie Cookson Foundation, which has helped support families who have terminally ill children.

They always have been probably the most inspirational people I know. The work they do for the Charlie Cookson Foundation, to lose a child and then to dedicate the last six years helping other families, helping 59 families, is so inspirational. But to have to go through it all again, it’s unimaginable.

– Keith James, The Charlie Cookson Foundation
Charlie and Carter Credit: ITV News

On the eve of Carter's funeral, his mother, Sarah, posted a moving message on Facebook, in which she said how proud they are of both their sons.

The pain of losing one son is suffocating... the pain of losing a second son is unbearable. BUT we will get up everyday we will continue to live on FOR THEM..so their fight and effect they had/will have on the world will NEVER be forgotten.

Their names will continue to change lives and now save lives due to the way our youngest angel has changed the way a lot of us think about 'The Gift of Life'

Two South Shields Brothers...we are so very proud to call our sons xxxxxx

– Sarah Cookson Facebook post

Friends of the family agreed that Carter's legacy will help save other children's lives.

Shaun Darcy said "A lot of people don’t think how important it actually is to put yourself out there and be a donor and obviously, being through what they’ve been through, I think that would be part of his legacy, very much so, being part of the charity."