Crowds expected at Bradley Lowery funeral

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Bradley Lowery being carried by Jermain Defoe ahead of Sunderland's Premier League clash with Swansea in May 2016Image copyright AFP
Image caption The youngster described striker Jermain Defoe as his “best mate”

Crowds of mourners are expected to line the streets for the funeral of Bradley Lowery.

The six-year-old Sunderland fan, from Blackhall Colliery, County Durham, died on Friday following a cancer fight.

Former Sunderland striker Jermain Defoe, who became friends with Bradley, left a training camp in Spain for the funeral.

The service will be held at St Joseph’s Church in the village at 11:15 BST and is “open to everyone”, his family said.

It will be followed by a private crematorium ceremony.

Speakers will broadcast the funeral service to people unable to be accommodated within the church.

Bradley’s family said they would wear football shirts in honour of his love of the sport.

A vigil and minute’s applause are planned at Grey’s Monument in Newcastle city centre at the same time as the funeral, while balloons will be released at noon at Sunderland’s Stadium of Light.

Image copyright TWITTER
Image caption Jermain Defoe paid tribute to Bradley on Twitter – saying he would always carry him in his heart

Bradley was diagnosed with neuroblastoma aged 18 months.

Having been in remission following treatment, he relapsed last year and his parents were told in December his illness was terminal.

In the months before his death he struck up a friendship with Jermain Defoe, who called him a “little superstar”.

Defoe is now with Bournemouth and the club announced on Thursday the 34-year-old had left their pre-season training camp in Marbella to travel back for the funeral.

Bradley also led out the England team at Wembley, attended the BBC Sports Personality of the Year Awards and was a special guest at the Grand National.

Tributes poured in from around the world when his parents announced his death on Facebook.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Bradley was invited to the BBC’s Sports Personality of the Year event

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