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http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-4699904/Bradley-Lowery-s-mother-s-touching-Facebook-message.html

'Thank you for an amazing send off': Bradley Lowery's mother posts touching message to the thousands who lined the streets for his funeral

    Thousands descended on the County Durham village for little Bradley's funeral
    Six-year-old, who captured the hearts of the nation, lost long battle with cancer
    Today his mother, Gemma, posted a message on Facebook thanking the public

By Anthony Joseph for MailOnline

Published: 21:24, 15 July 2017 | Updated: 22:03, 15 July 2017

Bradley Lowery's mother has thanked the thousands of people who came out to give her son an emotional send off.  The six-year-old, from County Durham, who captured the hearts of the nation, lost his long battle with cancer last week.  More than three thousand people, many in football shirts, lined the streets of his village yesterday to pay their respects to the Sunderland fan who inspired millions.  Today his mother, Gemma, posted a message on Facebook thanking the public for their support.  Bradley Lowery's mother has thanked the thousands of people who came out to give her son an emotional send off.  The six-year-old, from County Durham, who captured the hearts of the nation, lost his long battle with cancer last week.  More than three thousand people, many in football shirts, lined the streets of his village yesterday to pay their respects to the Sunderland fan who inspired millions.  Today his mother, Gemma, posted a message on Facebook thanking the public for their support.  She wrote: 'Thank you so much for everyone that come yesterday and helped give brad an amazing send off.  It was very overwhelming but I was very proud of how brave my amazing family and friends were.  I would also like to say a huge thank you to all the staff from the RVI for always doing everything in their power to get my boy better. NHS can sometimes get bad press but In my experience they have been amazing and couldn't of done any more.  I'm going to take a few weeks off to grieve now but once Iv did that the Bradley Lowery foundation will be well on its way to supporting other children.'   

The football-loving youngster fought bravely against the childhood cancer neuroblastoma and his friendship with former Sunderland striker Jermaine Defoe touched the hearts of fans around the world.  Bradley's coffin was brought to the ceremony in a glass carriage, pulled by two white horses decked out in the colours of Bradley's beloved Sunderland football team.  A line of Bradley's favourite superheroes including Batman, Spiderman and Captain America saluted as the little coffin was carried into St Joseph's church by family and friends.  Ahead of the service, Elvis Presley's 'Can't Help Falling in Love', a Sunderland anthem, played out to the masses of people who had gathered outside to pay their respects.  Bradley's mother Gemma read a poem which included the line: 'We will meet again our superhero up in the sky'.

Defoe wore one of his England shirts to the emotional service, with 'Bradley 6' emblazoned on the back.  He wept as he left the church and got into a waiting car ahead of a private ceremony at a nearby crematorium.  Sunderland players John O'Shea, Lee Cattermole, Vito Mannone and ex-manager David Moyes were also among those packed into St Joseph's Catholic Church.   Bradley's family had suggested that those unable to make the public ceremony could wear the colours of their favourite team to work and school, and make a £1 donation to the Bradley Lowery Foundation.  In response, hundreds took to social media using the hashtag #CancerHasNoColours, and shared pictures of themselves in their kits, representing clubs from across English football and beyond.  Bradley died of neuroblastoma, a rare cancer, a week ago, after a long battle which captured the hearts' of football players and fans across the country.  England star Defoe broke off his pre-season training in Spain and flew home for the funeral yesterday.  A vigil and minute's applause took place at Grey's Monument in Newcastle city centre simultaneously as the funeral, while balloons were released at noon at Sunderland's Stadium of Light.  After the public service, Bradley's closest loved ones will share their personal grief at a private crematorium ceremony.  Bradley died of neuroblastoma, a rare cancer, a week ago, after a long battle which captured the hearts' of football players and fans across the country.  England star Defoe broke off his pre-season training in Spain and flew home for the funeral yesterday.  A vigil and minute's applause took place at Grey's Monument in Newcastle city centre simultaneously as the funeral, while balloons were released at noon at Sunderland's Stadium of Light.  After the public service, Bradley's closest loved ones will share their personal grief at a private crematorium ceremony.  Defoe said he was 'heartbroken' when the youngster sadly passed away, in his parents' arms at their family home.  He wrote in a moving tribute: 'Goodbye my friend, going to miss you lots. I feel so blessed God brought you into my life and had some amazing moments with you and for that I'm so grateful.  I'll never ever forget the way you looked at me when I met you for the first time, the genuine love in those cute eyes.  Really finding it hard to find words to express what you mean to me. The way you say my name, your little smiles, when the cameras come out like a little superstar and the love I felt when I was with you.  Your courage and bravery will continue to inspire me for the rest of my life. You will never know what a difference you made to me as a person. God has you in his arms and I will always carry you in my heart. Sleep tight little one. My best friend.'

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.  Two separate petitions have been launched to name Defoe as the BBC's Sports Personality of the Year and have a stand at Sunderland's Stadium of Light named after Bradley.  The latter, which was created three months ago but has gathered momentum since his death last week, has racked up more than 37,000 signatures.  Petition creator Chris Collier wrote: 'My thoughts are with the Lowery family at this unimaginably difficult time.  Brad has become a symbol of love and hope and nobody can think of Sunderland AFC without thinking of him.  Because of this, he deserves a permanent feature in his memory. The renaming of one of the stands at the Stadium of Light is the perfect idea.'

Within hours of the Defoe petition going up more than 1,500 people had signed their support.  The petition, which seems to have begun with a supporter of bitter rivals Newcastle United, says this was one time they had to put their differences aside.  It said: 'Young Bradley Lowery was diagnosed with terminal cancer at a very young age.  The chance came up for Bradley to be the mascot for Sunderland at a home game, a chance that he took up right away.  On that matchday, Bradley caught sight of Jermain Defoe, he ran straight up to him and into his arms for a huge embrace with his favourite player and from that moment on they had a brilliant friendship.'

The petition went on to say how Defoe kept up his interest in Bradley.  'Footballers in our days are often labelled this and that, but Jermain went above and beyond any expectation that there was of him when it came to Bradley,' it said.

Bradley's courageous spirit won him a legion of fans including football stars and celebrities alike.  He struck a close bond with England and former Sunderland striker Jemain Defoe, who called Bradley his 'best mate' and said he is 'heartbroken'.  Bradley's Smile: His mother's touching poem  Football mascot Bradley Lowery's mother Gemma Lowery read out a poem during the service, entitled Bradley's Smile.  Her voice cracked with emotion as she read the words:

'A smile so big and beautiful,
Could brighten any room,
A real brave superhero,
He left us far too soon.

He touched the hearts of many,
The most inspirational boy by far,
A loving, caring son and brother,
A beautiful star.

Although your time with us was short,
You must have a job to do,
In heaven with the angels,
As God has chosen you.

Our lives and hearts are broken,
Way beyond repair,
When looking for some comfort,
For each other we will be there.

For now my baby,
We will say goodbye,
We'll meet again,
Our superhero, high up in the sky.'

Bradley's death has led to an outpouring of grief - especially in the world of football with clubs and their stars paying tribute to the 'ultimate little fighter'.  Touched by his story, the nation came together in a bid to initially cure his illness with more than £1 million being raised for his official charity, including large donations from several top flight clubs.  And the country's efforts to cheer him up did not stop when it became clear that his condition was terminal, as he was named as the 41st runner in the Grand National and had a charity single soar up the charts.