Bradley Lowery’s family have urged people not to ask mourners for autographs and selfies at the tot’s funeral today. His heartbroken parents made the plea on Facebook, with thousands of people expected to line the roads outside Hartlepool’s St Joseph Church to say their final goodbye to Bradley, who tragically lost his battle with neuroblastoma last Friday.

Football ace Jermain Defoe – who shared a close bond with the six-year-old – has flown back from a training camp in Spain to attend the funeral. The post said: “Can I ask people not to approach anyone for autographs or photos. Everyone is at the funeral to pay their respects and say goodbye.”

The little lad united fans across the Tyne-Wear rivalry and his incredible courage soon captured the hearts of supporters across the world. Instead of black, mourners are being asked to wear football tops of any colour to celebrate the life of the young lad. His parents said: “This is open to everyone who would like to come and celebrate Bradley’s life and pay their respects to show him how much he was loved.” They added the funeral’s theme is “cancer has no colours” – meaning mourners are invited to wear football tops of any team.