Football mascot Bradley Lowery's 'loving smile' remembered at funeral service

Em to lose hair for Bradley

Em to lose hair for Bradley

Thousands of people lined the streets on Friday for the funeral of courageous little Bradley Lowery.

Sunderland players past and present came together to pay tribute to the six-year-old who had been a mascot for the club on numerous occasions over the last year.

Premier League footballer Jermain Defoe, who counted Bradley as his "best friend", joined the congregation wearing an England shirt.

Addressing mourners at the service, Marc Lyden-Smith, Chaplin of Sunderland AFC, said Bradley had united the football community regardless of his colours with his story.

"We understand some schools have chosen to have a non-uniform day today in Bradley's memory and to raise funds".

Tributes from members of the public have been placed on railings on the road leading to the funeral at St Joseph's Church in Bradley's hometown of Blackhall Colliery, near Hartlepool, County Durham. Messages and mementos were also left outside Sunderland's Stadium of Light.

Spanish club Villareal posted: "Forever Bradley Lowery".

The six-year-old was diagnosed with neuroblastoma, a rare cancer of the nervous system, when he was 18 months old.

A spontaneous applause broke out as the cortege passed crowds and some people released balloons.

His mother, Gemma, told the congregation: "He had a smile so big and attractive it could brighten any room". A loving, caring son and brother - a attractive star.

"For now my baby we'll say goodbye".

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

He was a mascot for Sunderland several times last season and was also a mascot for England at Wembley.

Defoe struck up a remarkable friendship with Bradley after the little boy appeared as a mascot for his beloved Sunderland.

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

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