'Best friend' Defoe dons England shirt for funeral of Bradley Lowery

Premier League footballer Jermain Defoe wore an England shirt for the funeral of his six-year-old "best friend", Bradley Lowery, whose cancer battle captured hearts around the world.

Thousands of people lined the streets of Blackhall, County Durham, ahead of the service at St Joseph's Catholic Church, where the youngster was baptised six years ago.

The funeral cortege for Bradley Lowery. Picture: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire
The funeral cortege for Bradley Lowery. Picture: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire

A piper lead the horse-drawn carriage carrying his coffin through the village, which came to a halt to pay tribute to the little boy with the beaming smile.

Some released balloons as the cortege passed and a spontaneous round of applause broke out.

Mourners dressed in superhero costumes followed the funeral procession.

Jermain Defoe (centre) during the funeral of Bradley Lowery. Picture: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire
Jermain Defoe (centre) during the funeral of Bradley Lowery. Picture: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire

Defoe, now signed for Bournemouth, left training in Spain to attend.

Former Sunderland FC manager David Moyes was also among the congregation.

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

Bradley died a week ago in his parents' arms at home following a battle with the rare childhood cancer neuroblastoma.

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