Jermain Defoe will be guest of honour at Bradley Lowery's birthday bash

Jermain Defoe and Bradley Lowery.
Jermain Defoe and Bradley Lowery.

Battling youngster Bradley Lowery is looking forward to his birthday party, where his best friend, Jermain Defoe will be guest of honour.

The unlikely friendship between the Sunderland football star and the terminally ill five-year-old has captured the hearts of the nation.

And, like any good friend, Jermain Defoe said he wouldn't miss the Blackhall youngster's sixth birthday party next month.

Bradley's mum, Gemma, said, although the date and place of the party are being kept under wraps, it looks set to be a big affair.

She said: "Bradley definitely classes Jermain as one of his best friends and he will be absolutely thrilled if he is there at the party."

Jermain confirmed he would be going along to the event in an interview with CNN about his connection to the young mascot.

Bradley in his Sunderland kit.

Bradley in his Sunderland kit.

He said: "He’s got a birthday party soon, which I’ll be going to with my girlfriend, so we’re looking forward to that.

“Just to be around him, just to try and make him happy with however long he’s got.”

The bond between the striker and Bradley, who was first diagnosed with neuroblastoma in 2013, began when the young fighter appeared as a mascot for the Black Cats last September.

The player said: "He came to me instantly and he jumped on my lap and stuff and that love that he gave me from day one was just, that instant moment was when we bonded, it was just a great feeling.”

Since that day, Bradley has appeared alongside his best pal on the international stage, with the pair leading England out at Wembley for a World Cup Qualifier against Lithuania.

Jermain, 34, revealled that Bradley is often his inspiration to perform well.

He said: "To be honest, every time I play I always think about him, even in the England game.

"I just thought, you know what, I love scoring goals and I want to play well for my country and for my family, but every time I go out on the pitch it’s always at the back of my mind. I want to do well, I want to score a goal for little Bradley.”

Doctor broke the news in December that Bradley's condition is terminal and his heartbroken family have vowed to make as many special memories as possible.

These have included being guest of honour at the Grand National and currently planning a dream trip to Disneyland.

Gemma said the birthday party, which is by invitation only, is set to be a spectacular night with plenty of fun and entertainment, including a firework display.