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Jermain Defoe to receive North East Personality of the Year

Jermain Defoe is to be honoured for his commitment on and off the pitch tonight.

It's as the North East Football Writers’ Association’s annual awards take place at Ramside Hall tonight.

His relationship with young Sunderland fan and cancer patient the late Bradley Lowery captured the hearts of the nation.

The former Black Cat will be there to get the North East Personality of the Year trophy, a special award given in association with the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation.

Sir Bobby’s widow, Lady Elsie, said:

“Young Bradley obviously loved football and I’m glad it gave him such pleasure, even when he was very poorly. For his parents, I hope the support and love for Bradley from the football community has provided some small comfort after their dreadful loss.

“The special connection between Bradley and Jermain was apparent for everyone to see. I’m very proud that Jermain is receiving our award because it recognises his wonderful compassion and his commitment to helping other children with cancer in Bradley’s memory.

“The passion for football in this region means it has great power to do good. The friendship between Bradley and Jermain, and all the positive things that have happened because of it, is proof of that.”

Colin Young, secretary of the North East Football Writers’ Association, said:

“The very special friendship between Bradley Lowery and Jermain Defoe touched the whole country. It started from a joint love of football and Sunderland Football Club and blossomed into a bond which was an inspiration to millions of fans across the world.