Boy, 7, dies suddenly at home as funeral-goers line streets in colourful clothes

Loved ones and well-wishers have lined the streets to pay tribute to a seven-year-old boy who died unexpectedly last month.

The family of Alex Garside were left devastated on 31 July when he passed away at his home in South Hetton, County Durham – leaving behind devastated mum Debbie, dad Jamie, older brother Ethan and younger brother Noah.

He had been described as having a "heart of gold" and his shock death has rocked the local community who are all coming to grips with the sad loss.

Residents came together on Thursday to mark their respects to Alex and his family as they lined the streets wearing his favourite colours as his parents and siblings prepared to say goodbye.

A procession left Charters Crescent on at 11.45am before it made its way past South Hetton Primary School on Thursday.

Speaking of her loss, mum Debbie told ChronicleLive: "Alex was such a beautiful boy inside and out. He had a heart of gold and a smile that would light up any room.

"He was our little soldier and we all miss him so much.

"Alex was a very much loved part of our village and we can't thank everyone enough for what they have done.

"We love you to the moon and back Alex. Holding hands forever, you will always be our little man."

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Family friend Leanne Wass, 43, discussed the plans for fellow locals to wear Alex’s favourite colours as his procession passed.

She said: "With the coronavirus, I knew a lot of people couldn't go to the funeral so we asked the community to line up and his mum asked us all to wear bright colours because Alex's favourite colours were blue and yellow.

"I find it incomprehensible so I can't imagine what his parents are going through. It's their grief but we wanted them to know that we feel their grief too, I wanted them to know they're not alone in this.

"It really has affected South Hetton everyone is thinking about them and everybody just wants the family to know how sorry they are that this happened."

Leanne has set up a GoFundMe page to help cover the funeral costs of the young lad – which has raised over £4,000.

She explained: "I knew I wanted to do something and wondered if I could set up a fundraising page so I messaged Debbie with my condolences and said: 'Please, I would love to help any future financial burden and South Hetton would love to show you how much we care.'

"She was absolutely fine with it and so the whole of South Hetton got behind them.

"South Hetton is an old pit village but the community spirit is second to none and I feel so proud and privileged that I'm from South Hetton. Everybody just banded together."

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