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Defoe honoured with North East award

Jermain Defoe and Gemma Lowery

4:10pm 26th February 2018
(Updated 4:11pm 26th February 2018)

Last night (Sunday), former Sunderland striker Jermain Defoe was honoured for his positivity and commitment away from the football pitch at the North East Football Writers’ Association’s annual awards.

Jermain attended the event to receive the North East Personality of the Year trophy, a special award given in association with the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation to recognise someone who uses their position in football to benefit the wider community.

The player’s relationship with young cancer patient, Bradley Lowery, caught the hearts of the whole nation and helped raise awareness of neuroblastoma, a rare type of cancer which affects less than 100 children in the UK each year.

Sunderland fan Bradley was diagnosed with neuroblastoma at just 18-months-old and last year his mum, Gemma Lowrey, shared the devastating news that the cancer was terminal. Bradley passed away in July surrounded by his family and friends.

Gemma presented Jermain with the North East Personality of the Year trophy and the pair received a standing ovation.

Gemma said:

“Not everyone gets to meet their heroes or spend so much time with them.  The fact that Bradley was able to have those special memories with Jermain, and that we have them too, forever, is really special.”

Jermain said:

“I’ve said to Gemma that I’ll do whatever I can do to continue to support her family. Like this night, I just had to be here. To be honest, it’s a little bit strange receiving an award for something you do purely from the goodness of your heart you don’t think about getting an award for it.

“Even when I walk around Tesco people come up to me, probably who haven’t even watched football before, and they know me because of my relationship with Bradley. I’ve had messages from people in Australia.

“So the awareness that little Brad raised is quite phenomenal really.”


Held annually at Ramside Hall Hotel in Durham, the North East Football Writers' Association Awards night, sponsored by William Hill, celebrates the best of North East football. The event, once again, raised funds for the Sir Bobby Robson Foundation, which helps find more effective ways to detect and treat cancer. 

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The charity recently made a £1million contribution to fund clinical research and nursing posts at the new Wolfson Childhood Cancer Research Centre at Newcastle University.

Other recipients of awards included Men’s Players of the Year, Jamaal Lascelles and Matt Ritchie, Young Player of the Year, Jordan Pickford, and Womens’ Player of the Year, Victoria Williams.

Capping off a special night, there were also presentations to Newcastle United manager, Rafa Benitez, and non-league clubs Blyth Spartans, Spennymoor Town and South Shields.

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