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Friends and family of the six-year-old football mascot have been encouraged to wear football shirts to help celebrate his life.

England striker Jermain Defoe will join the family and friends of Bradley Lowery for the funeral of the six-year-old football mascot.

The youngster had enjoyed a close friendship with Defoe, who said Bradley had been his “best friend” and would continue to inspire him.

The footballer is leaving a pre-season training camp in Spain with his new club Bournemouth so he can attend the service in Blackhall, County Durham.

Bradley, who had a rare form of childhood cancer, died a week ago at his home.