Tees

Bradley Lowery leads out Sunderland for last home game

Bradley Lowery, dad Carl and Jermain Defoe Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Bradley was carried by Jermain Defoe before being passed to his father Carl

Terminally-ill Bradley Lowery has led his beloved Sunderland team out as a mascot for the Black Cats' final home game in the Premier League.

The five-year-old from Blackhall, County Durham, is fighting neuroblastoma and was carried onto the pitch by his hero Jermain Defoe.

A banner organised by Newcastle fans in solidarity against cancer was flown over the stadium but split opinion.

Chants of "there's only one Bradley Lowery" echoed around the stadium.

Proceeds from the match day programme, which has Bradley on its cover, will be donated to a fund in aid of his family.

Rapturous applause welcomed the Sunderland fan who wore a shirt that read "Thank you SAFC and fans".

Image caption A banner to show solidarity was branded "totally distasteful and embarrassing"

In the away end, Swansea fans donated money with the Welsh club adding that £1 would also be donated to the fund for every food voucher its fans redeem.

In April, it was confirmed the latest and final round of Bradley's treatment had failed and the family vowed to continue "creating memories".

His mother, Gemma Lowery, said on Facebook on Thursday that the "disease is progressing".

Image copyright PA
Image caption The five-year-old appeared on the front page of the official match programme

A banner, flown over the Stadium of Light during the first half of the game, which said "United by Cancer - Divided by Leagues" was an attempt at solidarity from local rival football fans from Newcastle.

However, TV presenter and Newcastle United fan Lynsey Hipgrave wrote on Twitter that the banner was "totally distasteful and embarrassing".

But, Mrs Lowery responded to the plans on Facebook and said the banner was "very thoughtful that people to wanted to raise awareness".

Sunderland were relegated in April following 10 years in the top-flight, after they lost 1-0 to Bournemouth.

Local rivals Newcastle United won the Championship on Sunday and have been promoted to the Premier League.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Jermain Defoe's future is in doubt at the club after Sunderland's relegation in April
Image copyright PA
Image caption The crowd chanted "there's only one Bradley Lowery"
Image copyright Reuters
Image caption The club shared a video on Twitter of Bradley at the club
Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Leeds fans Darren Powell, Neil Berkinshore and Andrew Sharpe are holding a charity game on Sunday

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