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  1. ITV Report

Jermain Defoe to receive award for friendship with Bradley Lowery

Bradley's mum Gemma added the finishing touches to Jermain Defoe's North East Personality of the Year Award Credit: Longstone Public Relations

Jermain Defoe is to be named North East Personality of the Year at the North East Football Writers' Association Awards for his friendship with Bradley Lowery.

Defoe was playing for Sunderland when he met Bradley, who was a mascot for one of their matches. The pair formed a strong friendship with Defoe spending a lot of time with Bradley before his death from neuroblastoma.

The award is given in association with the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation and recognises someone who uses their position in football to benefit the wider community.

Bradley's mum, Gemma, personally added the finishing touches to his award by blowing on the glass.

It was fantastic that Jermain became such a friend to Bradley and his continued friendship to us now means a lot.

He had so much to do with us all in the final weeks of Bradley's life and he hasn't just left things there. Jermain's a Patron of the Bradley Lowery Foundation and he wants to be involved because that's where his heart is.

Sadly Bradley's not here to help but I hope I'm the next best thing and I enjoyed helping make the award. I'm sure Jermain will love it.

– Gemma Lowery

Lady Elsie, widow of Sir Bobby Robson, said Defoe was the obvious choice for this year's award.

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."

– Lady Elsie

Changes had to be made to this year's supplier of the awards. Normally they were supplied by Colin Verne-Jones from Durham trophies but he passed away from cancer.

The decision was made to source the awards from another local supplier, the National Glass Centre.

Colin Young, secretary of the North East Football Writers' Association, said it was fitting to have Gemma add the finishing touches to the award.

We had to think of a new approach to the trophies for this year and wanted to make them very special and from this region.

Commissioning trophies from the National Glass Centre seemed the ideal choice. And Jermain's is all the more perfect because of Gemma's input into it.

We're glad that Jermain will have a lasting reminder of his time in the north east with him when he leaves our awards event."

– Colin Young, Secretary of the North East Football Writers' Association

The awards ceremony will be held at the Ramside Hall Hotel in Durham on 25th February.