Emotional goodbye to Sunderland heart girl

Funeral of Sarah Barton at Sunderland Crematorium.'Mourners had been requested to wear brighter colours.
Funeral of Sarah Barton at Sunderland Crematorium.'Mourners had been requested to wear brighter colours.
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“LIFE is too important to be taken seriously.”

The quote – by Oscar Wilde – was double heart transplant girl Sarah Barton’s favourite and was engraved on her iPhone.

The words were read out to conclude a celebration of the 17-year-old’s life before a packed chapel at Sunderland Crematorium yesterday.

More than a hundred people – dressed in bright colours at Sarah’s request – said their final goodbyes to the teenager, who died a week ago on Saturday – six years after undergoing her first transplant.

Her parents Bev and Peter and brothers Chris and Andy led the way into the chapel, to the sound of Oasis’ Don’t Look Back in Anger.

Mourners at the humanist service were invited to spend a time of quiet reflection while Yellow by Coldplay was played, and Little Comets’ One Night in October concluded the music.

A collection was held to raise money for Chuf – The Children’s Heart Unit at the Freeman Hospital – and Cats’ Protection League, due to Sarah’s love of felines.

A wake followed at Ashbrooke Rugby Club.

Brave Sarah, of East Herrington, fell ill shortly before her 11th birthday due to a virus, which doctors believe caused her heart to fail.

She underwent a transplant, but two years later she deteriorated and was just hours from death when a second heart was found.

Sarah returned to school and, despite her struggles, was able to live a full and happy life, winning several honours, including a Pride of Wearside Award, for her bravery.

After six special years with her family, Sarah’s second transplanted heart finally gave out during a day out with her dad and she could not be revived.