Jermain Defoe has been awarded an OBE for his charity work and has dedicated it to his “best friend”, the late Bradley Lowery.
The Bournemouth striker formed a special bond with Bradley during his time at Sunderland, with Defoe going well out of his way to spend time with him.
He walked out with him for an England friendly at Wembley, visited Bradley in hospital as he underwent treatment and also attended his birthday party with then-Sunderland teammate Vito Mannone.
Today, the former Tottenham and Portsmouth striker was officially presented with his OBE from the Prince Charles and posted a proud and wonderful message to give with images of his special day.
Last year, Defoe said that young Bradley changed him as a person:
“Going to visit him in hospital, just having alone time. It’s difficult trying to keep your composure and not showing your emotions much was quite hard.
“I went to see him in hospital and he said to his mum, ‘can you just turn the lights off. He said to me, ‘do you want to get in the bed’ and I said, ‘no problem, Brad’.
“So I got in the bed and he put the covers over and he just wanted a cuddle. It was an amazing feeling.”
Bradley had a huge impact on Defoe and he honoured the brave and special young boy from Blackhall Colliery, near Hartlepool by having his name tattooed on his arm last month.
Jermain Defoe, one of football’s nice guys.