Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Memory of Bradley and His Smile Will Live Forever

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

Memory of Bradley and His Smile Will Live Forever

Article excerpt

Byline: DAVE ROBSON dave.robson@trinitymirror.com @Daverobson_gaze

HUNDREDS united for Bradley Lowery's funeral - but not many will have expected to hear from the little boy himself.

But when his voice was heard over the public address system, singing the final lines to the songs 'Smile' and 'One Call Away', an already poignant occasion became almost unbearably emotional.

The funeral of the inspirational County Durham six-year-old, who lost his fight with childhood cancer neuroblastoma on July 7, took place at St Joseph's RC Church in Blackhall Colliery yesterday.

And when crowds started gathering outside the church well over an hour before the service, it was clear this would be no ordinary occasion.

Boro fans were among those who, at the request of Bradley's family, wore their team's football shirts because "cancer has no colours".

And Wendy Stonehouse from New Marske summed up the feelings of most when she said: "He's been in our hearts - I've followed his story right from the start. I just felt the need to come today - and it's an unbelievable turnout."

It certainly was. A crowd which comfortably reached four figures waited patiently behind barriers, chatting quietly about what Bradley meant to them.

Then came the sound of a lone piper, drifting in on the coastal breeze - Bradley was on his way.

As the cortege arrived, with the funeral carriage pulled by two magnificent white horses, spontaneous applause broke out and hundreds of balloons were released.

And no football crowd would be complete without a chant: "There's Only One Bradley Lowery!" Bradley's 'best friend' Jermain Defoe was there, of course, the back of his England shirt adorned with the number 6 and 'Bradley'.

Former Sunderland boss David Moyes attended too.

But away from football, this was also a day for Bradley's parents, Gemma and Carl, to know how loved their son was - and boy, was he loved.

A line of Bradley's favourite superheroes, including Batman, Spider-Man and Captain America, saluted as the little coffin was carried into church by family and friends, their shirts emblazoned with the legend 'Bradley forever. …

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