Jermain Defoe has dedicated his OBE to his young friend Bradley Lowery, who passed away from a rare type of cancer last year.
Defoe, who was honoured at Buckingham Palace this morning for his work with the Jermain Defoe Foundation, formed a strong bond with Bradley while playing for Sunderland, with the little boy repeatedly selected as a mascot for his beloved club while he battled neuroblastoma.
“There’s so many people I can thank, like my mum, my sister, people involved in the foundation,” said Defoe.
“The volunteers, people involved in the shoebox appeal. All those that worked for the foundation over the years.
“I would love to dedicate this amazing day, this OBE to my little friend Bradley, everyone knows the relationship I had with Bradley. I’ve got this for the Jermain Defoe Foundation but above all of that, I think it’s the relationship I had with him that was special.
“You never expect to receive any award, so to receive something like this, of course, it still hurts. I’ve got some great memories of Bradley, but to receive something like this today, it makes me feel good.”
The Bournemouth striker established the foundation in 2013 to support homeless, vulnerable and abused children in St Lucia, surrounding Caribbean Islands and the UK. The West Indies island is his family’s home country and he has been visiting since he was a child.