Heartbroken family and friends of Sheldon Farnell will release balloons in his memory

A community has rallied together to support a grieving family and help give a '˜beautiful' four-year-old boy the send off he deserves.

Monday, 3rd December 2018, 9:30 am
Updated Monday, 3rd December 2018, 9:30 am
Sheldon with mum Katrina Farnell

Sheldon Gary Farnell died last Monday of suspected sepsis just 24 hours after he was sent home from Sunderland Royal Hospital.

His mum, Katrina Farnell, wants answers after doctors were unable to save the joyful youngster.

Funds will be raised to give little Sheldon the send off he deserves

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A review into the circumstances around Sheldon’s care has now been launched by bosses at City Hospitals Sunderland NHS Foundation Trust.

Katrina, 23, had spent two days in hospital believing he had a viral infection until he was released – before blood results returned showing something was wrong.

Sheldon’s condition worsened and he was rushed back to hospital where he was put on life support, but he died less than 24 hours after he was originally discharged.

Family, friends and members of the community have now joined together to support the devastating family, who live in Houghton.


A Go Fund Me page set up to raise funds for Sheldon’s funeral to help give him the send of he deserves has now topped £1,500.

Balloons will be released in memory of Sheldon on Wednesday, December 5, at 5pm, in Herrington Park.

Amy McConville, who has been friends with Katrina for more than 20 years, said: “They’re all just devastated but Katrina has been amazing, she’s the strongest woman I know.

“I told them about the balloon release and they’re going to be there, they’re overwhelmed by the love and support.”

The 22-year-old, who lives in Herrington, added: “We’ve got balloons for them which spell Sheldon and they’ll have pictures and contact details on so we can hopefully find out how far he has reached.

“It’s sending them up to heaven for him.

“He’s a beautiful, amazing and polite little boy and he doesn’t deserve what has happened. He has the strongest mam I’ve ever met.

“It’s just heartbreaking.”

Two fundraisers have also been raised to help boost generous donations already made.

Toni Brophy, who is Katrina’s cousin, has organised a fundraiser at Fulforth Centre, in Sacriston, on Friday in Sheldon’s memory.

The event will run from 2pm to 4pm and there will be a raffle, tombola and cake sale.

Toni, 18 ,of Sacriston, said: “You can tell just by looking at him he’s one of the most gorgeous little boys.

“He was wise beyond his years.

“The support has been amazing. It’s just so sad that all this amazing generosity has happened over something so tragic.”

The team of fundraisers including Shirley Robson, Nicole Abrahams, Bethany Parkes, Amy McConville, Nadia Kellet, Michelle Rafferty, Kirby Wiffen, Vicki Henderson, Christie Rae of Monument Bouncy castles, Emma Coulson of Burnmoor Cricket Club, and Michelle Grahamslaw of the White Lion in Houghton.

A third event will take place at Burnmoor Cricket Club on Sunday, from 12pm to 5pm.

Nicole Abrahams said: “My heart is breaking so much for Katrina and the family. Hopefully we can raise a lot of money for the family and also raise awareness about sepsis.”

Entry to the Sheldon Gary Farnell Shining Star Fundraiser will cost £3 per child, of £5 for two children, this includes a visit to Santa, a present and a disco.

There will be balloons, face painting, a magician, glitter tattoos, visits from Elf, the Grinch and Paw Patrol characters.

There is also a tombola with a huge range of prizes to be won.

Donations can be made online at www.gofundme.com/to-give-beautiful-sheldon-a-send-off-he-deserves or via the collections bucket in the White Lion in Houghton.