Jermain Defoe among mourners at Bradley Lowery's funeral

Premier League footballer Jermain Defoe wore an England shirt for the funeral of his six-year-old 'best friend', Bradley Lowery, whose cancer battle captured hearts around the world.

Footballer Jermain Defoe attends the funeral of six year old Sunderland FC, fan, Bradley Lowery. Pic: Getty Images

Thousands of people lined the streets of Blackhall, County Durham, ahead of the service at St Joseph’s Catholic Church, where the youngster was baptised six years ago.

A piper lead the horse-drawn carriage carrying his coffin through the village, which came to a halt to pay tribute to the little boy with the beaming smile.

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Some released balloons as the cortege passed and a spontaneous round of applause broke out.

Emotions ran high. Pic: Owen Humphreys/PA

Mourners dressed in superhero costumes followed the funeral procession.

Defoe, now signed for Bournemouth, left training in Spain to attend.

Former Sunderland FC manager David Moyes was also among the congregation.

Defoe struck up a remarkable friendship with Bradley after the little boy appeared as a mascot for his beloved Sunderland.

Hundreds of people lined the streets to pay their respects. Pic: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

Bradley died a week ago in his parents’ arms at home following a battle with the rare childhood cancer neuroblastoma.

Former Sunderland manager David Moyes, centre, attends the funeral. Pic: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images
Emotions ran high. Pic: Owen Humphreys/PA
Hundreds of people lined the streets to pay their respects. Pic: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images
Former Sunderland manager David Moyes, centre, attends the funeral. Pic: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images