Mourners have started lining the streets of Bradley Lowery’s hometown to bid farewell to the football mascot whose smile touched hearts across the world. Little Bradley’s heartbroken parents, Gemma and Carl, are laying the brave six-year-old to rest today after he died in their arms from cancer a week ago.

They are being joined at their son’s funeral in County Durham by other relatives and friends, including Bradley’s best pal, ex-Sunderland star Jermain Defoe. The footballer, 34, who struck up an incredible bond with the youngster, has flown back from pre-season training in Spain so he can attend the service.

Mourners have been asked to wear football shirts – of any team or colour – for this morning’s ceremony, which has the theme ‘cancer has no colours’. Shortly before 9.30am, Sunderland AFC posted a tribute to Bradley on Twitter, saying the club was thinking of his loved ones on “this sad day”. ┬áThousands of people are expected to line the streets of Blackhall Colliery to watch the little boy’s funeral procession and pay their respects to him.