The mum of cancer battler Bradley Lowery has helped to put the finishing touches to a special award which will be handed to his “best friend” Jermain Defoe later this month.
It was recently announced that former Sunderland player Jermain, now playing at Premier League side Bournemouth, will be presented at this year’s North East Football Writers’ Association awards with the Personality of the Year honour.
Bradley’s devoted mum Gemma was at the National Glass Centre in Sunderland to put the final touches to the glass award with the help of hot glass artist and designer Kalki Mansel.
Gemma was joined by Lady Elsie Robson, the widow of legendary England manager Sir Bobby Robson, whose foundation the award is being presented in association with to recognise someone who uses their position in football to benefit the wider community and North East Football Writers’ Association chairman Colin Young.
Speaking to the Echo, Gemma said: “I’ve never done anything like this before and I really enjoyed it.
“It’s nice to know that I’ve helped with making the award that is going to Jermain.
“He himself knows how grateful we are and although he’s not bothered about it, we are friends now so it’s nice to give him something with a personal touch.
“I’m sure he will enjoy the awards night and we will too.
“Although he’s not in the North East anymore, the area will always have a special place in his heart I’m sure.”
Bradley touched the hearts of the nation during his brave battle with childhood cancer neuroblastoma.
The six-year-old, of Blackhall Colliery, passed away in July last year.
He struck up a close friendship with Jermain after he was mascot for a Sunderland game, with the striker regularly visiting him during his treatment.
Bradley’s loving family have now set up a foundation in his memory as a way of keeping his legacy alive.
The foundation aims to build a holiday home for other youngsters battling serious illness so that they can enjoy quality time with their families.
Lady Elsie said: “This award is very important to the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation and we can’t think of anyone more appropriate to receive it than Jermain.
“It’s been absolutely fascinating to see the award being made and a great pleasure to meet Gemma.
“She’s an extraordinary woman and I admire her positivity and strength during such a difficult time.”
The North East Football Writers’ Association Awards takes place on Sunday, February 25.
More information on the Bradley Lowery Foundation is available at https://bradleylowerysfight.org.uk.