Brave Bradley to be laid to rest

Bradley in Scarborough
Bradley in Scarborough

Mourners will gather today for the funeral of Bradley Lowery, the football mascot whose beaming smile touched thousands of people around the world.

The Sunderland supporting six-year-old had a rare form of cancer, neuroblastoma, and died on Friday following his brave battle.

He formed a strong bond with his favourite footballer, Jermain Defoe and enjoyed a week-long trip to Scarborough recently, including being a guest of honour at the town’s Armed Forces Day.

Scarborough councillor Tom Fox met Bradley and his family on Armed Forces Day and it made lasting impression on him.

He said: “I met Bradley and his family and what an amazing little boy he was.

“He had a permanent smile on his face and his family were special people who had done so much to give their boy the best time he could have in his short life.

“The legacy will be the fund they set up for Bradley, which will now be used to give other young boys and girls experiences, meaning their families won’t have to fundraise and worry about being able to afford it.

“I know he loved his time in Scarborough – an amazing boy.”

Mr Defoe said: “God has you in his arms and I will always carry you in my heart.”

He also called Bradley his “best friend” and said he was “blessed” to have known him.

The funeral will take place at St Joseph Church at 11.15am, and friends and family have been encouraged to wear football shirts to help celebrate his life.

Speakers outside will allow anyone who is unable to get into the church to listen to the service.

A statement from the twitter account @Bradleysfight said the funeral was "open to everyone who would like to come and celebrate Bradley's life and pay their respects to show him how much he was loved".

It added: "You can wear whatever you want for the funeral but the family and friends have chosen the theme cancer has no colours. So they are wearing football tops, it doesn't matter what team or colour."

Supporters had hoped a massive fundraising effort last year could get Bradley to the US for pioneering treatment for the childhood cancer neuroblastoma, but his heartbroken family announced at Christmas that his cancer was terminal.