Joy for family devastated by son’s death

Dexter's Light. James Cook and Gemma Littley with their new baby Tabitha.
Dexter's Light. James Cook and Gemma Littley with their new baby Tabitha.

A heartbroken couple who lost their son to a rare genetic condition have welcomed a baby daughter into the world.

Dexter Cook had just celebrated his first birthday when he died suddenly in his sleep last May.

His parents James Cook, 37, from Salendine Nook and Gemma Littley, 33, from Greetland, were left with no explanation until Dexter’s DNA was used as part of a pioneering genetic study.

Tests found that Dexter had been born with the SCN3B gene mutation which regulates salt to the heart.

The condition was so rare it had never been seen before.

Now, proud parents James and Gemma are celebrating the birth of their five-week-old daughter Tabitha.

And after an agonising wait, tests have revealed that Tabitha does not have the same genetic mutation.

James said: “We are relieved Tabitha doesn’t have it, but it’s not something we can celebrate.

“It would be like celebrating Tabitha winning a sports day and Dexter coming last.

“We hope that these discoveries may assist other families.”

Despite their sorrow, the couple have vowed to keep Dexter’s memory alive.

“Tabitha is amazing, she’s given me a purpose,” James said.

“I’m going to tell her all about Dexter, she will know all about her big brother.

“We carry a light for Dexter and she will go on to carry that light for him.

“He will never be forgotten.”

Since Dexter’s death, James and Gemma have worked tirelessly to raise funds for a mobile sensory room for babies and toddlers.

Dexter’s Light charity was set up to fund this and after winning a national ‘Community Champion’ competition organised by Magnet Trade, a donation of £2,000 has helped them reach the £15,000 needed.

The equipment was unveiled at St Thomas’ Church, Greetland, where Dexter is buried.

The couple are now appealing for families in Calderdale who feel they would benefit from the equipment to get in touch as it can be loaned.

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