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Bradley Lowery’s mum and Jermain Defoe speak on upset caused by mocking of her son’s death

Bradley Lowery’s mum and Jermain Defoe speak in an interview with This Morning on upset caused by mocking of her son’s death.

Gemma Lowery, the mum of the young former Sunderland mascot Bradley Lowery, appeared on ITV this week to talk about the “disrespectful” moment a fan at Sheffield Wednesday holding up an image of Bradley at a match to goad Sunderland supporters in the away end.

Bradley sadly died aged just six years old, having lost his battle with Neuroblastoma in 2017 after capturing the hearts of the nation with best friend and former Sunderland player Jermain Defoe.

Sheffield Wednesday fan Dale Houghton, 31, admitted a public order offence at Sheffield Magistrates’ Court following the incident and District Judge James Gould told him all sentence options were open, including a prison sentence.

Gemma said on This Morning, and you can watch the full interview HERE: So Bradley was diagnosed with a rare cancer called neuroblastoma when he was 18 month old. He went through two years of gruel and treatment before we got the amazing news that he went in remission. It was the best news in the world. He had one year out where we done normal happy family things, then unfortunately relapsed, and he was with us for another year before he went with the Angels. But when Bradley was here, we set up a fundraising campaign because there was a treatment in America that could have potentially saved his life. Unfortunately, we didn’t get him to America and for that treatment, but the successful, the campaign was very successful.

Craig Doyle: What kind of kid was he? Big football fan…

Gemma: Huge football fan, obviously, huge Jermain fan. Um, it was lovely and everybody who knew Bradley knew his big massive smile, his personality. It was just, he was a beautiful, beautiful little boy.

Josie Gibson: “So when you are fundraising, I mean, the football community really, really got behind you with this, didn’t they?

Gemma: Incredible. The football community is absolutely amazing, and people might think sometimes it is just football, but to us it’s not. And, you know, it’s we found again this time around that the football community again have supported us. They do really well.

Craig: Jermain, tell us about the first time you met Brad.

Jermain: Um, I never get tired of sending this story, to be honest, I think it was, um, it was the first game of the season, I was at Sunderland and Louise, who was the press officer basically just said, um, there’s a little boy, you’re his favourite player. Um, he’s not well, um, he’s a mascot and can you jump out with him? I said, yeah, of course, no problem. And initially I remember Brad run into the changing rooms. And it was strange cause a lot of times kids are quite reluctant and really quiet, but Brad just ran over to me. He jumped on my lap and I remember speaking, he was speaking to me about his boots cause we have the same boots on. I think it’s just that instant connection and it was something completely different. Um, hard to actually find words to describe what it was like. But I mean, since then I’ve, you know, kept in contact with, you know, the family. Er, I spoke to Louise after I tried to sort that understand about Neuroblastoma, went to the hospital to see Gemma and obviously Brads. And yeah, it was it was, it was special.

Craig: He’s a proper pal of yours, wasn’t he?

Jermain: Yeah, it was a special character. Um, and like I said, of course it was difficult, um you know, for young kids to, to go through that and not fully understand what’s going on. Um, but at the same time, I think, you know you know, what a character and that, you know, that was a special moment. I remember the England game he walked out with me. That was, it was good.

Josie: I dread to ask, put up of. these images of your poor little boy, and everything he’s gone through. I mean ah, I couldn’t imagine how it, how it’s made you feel, but how did it make you feel when you saw those images of him?

Gemma: I was very mixed emotions. I was obviously sad that Bradley was being used in such a negative way. Because continuing his legacy in a positive way and see the negativity around it was, it was really sad and I was upset. It was hard to believe, to be honest.

Craig: But because you’re just a really good person initially, you said, you know, let’s just leave us. What, yeah, turned you, what made you want to take action?

Gemma: So I wasn’t going to prosecute because I felt like the backlash on social media was enough. Um, and saying that I just wanted please tell people to leave them alone now, especially the family. Because I get really nervous and anxious when I see people like targeting the family. Um, so I would like to ask people to leave them alone now. However, the thing that changed my mind was the police woman said, you know, you need to think about this because what happens if it happens to another family? The whole point of the Bradley Lowery Foundation is so I can support people so they don’t have to go through what I went through. So that was why I decided, you know, that there needs to be consequences and the law needs to deal with it.

Josie: I know that during the police charges, he was describing it as banter. I mean, banter, how sick is that?

Gemma: I think in football, there is going to be banter. There’s no one, no denying that. However, this ban end has been disrespectful and that was disrespectful.

Craig: Jermain, like myself were at stadiums every single week. Yeah, there is banter, there are channels, there’s a level of tribalism that fuels football. Then there’s a line you don’t cross. Yeah, and that’s what’s happened here, right?

Jermain: Yeah, it was difficult for me to sort of like um, to understand it, just that human side, I think I’ve seen too many question. You have a responsibility as football fans, um you know, you’re representing your, the community, uh, the football club that you support. And when I actually saw the images, I didn’t really know what to say because I couldn’t believe it. Two grown men to do that. And, you know, you say banter and there’s football banter, but there’s some things that are unacceptable. Um, and it’s really difficult to sort like understand it. But, and I, like Gemma said this, some has to be done, um, someTHING has to be done because it’s a big mistake.

Craig: But, but it seems that this guy Dale is in the minority though because the response from Sutherland supporters has been fantastic, hasn’t it?

Gemma: Yeah, and I think response from Sheffield Wednesday supporters, you know, they’ve been absolutely amazing. The whole football community has been amazing, have raised a lot of money, um, for the foundation which is gonna go to our holiday home that we building for sick children. So although there’s a negative, um, I don’t wanna dwell on that negative. I want to think about the positive. I want to think about what we’re going to do with that money. We’re going to help children put smiles back on their faces and make special memories with the family.

Josie: Which makes you such an incredible human being. Gemma. I mean, they raised them. So Sheffield have raised 28,000, yeah, and, and they’ve donated it to the Bradley Lowery Foundation. But can you talk us through Brad’s pad?

Gemma: So I’ve got a lot of love and, you know, when Bradley passed away, I want to give people and children the chance to make special memories because regardless of whether they’ve got cancer, a heart condition, every child should be made or feel special. And so my, my thoughts are, is let’s build a beautiful holiday home. This holiday home’s gonna be five bedrooms. It’s got two playrooms, absolutely amazing. And I want that so all the family can go, not just mum and dad. I want Nana, Grandad and his uncles. I want everybody be able to make them special memories with them, children.

Josie: And how far along are you with the project now?

Gemma: So we’ve got, we’ve got walls and the project itself is quite economically friendly. And so it’s built with something called ICF and so that has been really expensive and especially because of Covid, all the materials have went up. So, yeah, up to now we have got walls and we hoping to get a refund within the next month and then hopefully, you know, moving forward will be able to raise the rest of the money to get a built and finish.

Josie: You should be so proud of yourself and you need to tell us when you get the windows and stuff in.

Craig: And I’ll tell you why, because, we’d like to provide here at This Morning an ultimate home entertainment kit for the living room, smart TV, games console. You’re not allowed near the games console. Jermain, I was, I was doing American football at the NFL in, in Tottenham Stadium over the course of the weekend. And there were fans more around the world, but from more different clubs and opposing rival clubs drinking beers beside each other all day. Great chat, great banter, great fun. And Josh Widdecombe joined us in the studio, and he said he’s going to more NFL games and watching it because of that. Cause sometimes football can be just a bit intimidating for everybody, not just the players in the stands. Is there a lesson to be learnt for football fans? Cases like this, just a little slap around the chops, perhaps?

Jermain: I think something when you come, when you go to the NFL actually went last year. Um, and it’s completely different, obviously a football match with, I suppose the demands of winning, um, the rivalries from the clubs, um, and NFL Lucky just mentions completely different at the same time member will see it. We spoke out when at Brandy’s funeral, um, when I stood there and see, when I saw the, the Sunderland and Newcastle fans standing hand in hand, um, it was beautiful to see something that I would never thought I’d ever see. But, yeah, just to echo what you say is a, is a, like a little step on the wrist sort of thing because, you know, it’s a beautiful game and it does bring people together. And you can look at the NFL and take that as a, as an example. Of course.

 

However, Gemma was quick to praise Sunderland and Sheffield Wednesday football fans for raising an astonishing £28,000 for the Bradley Lowery Foundation, which she says will go towards building a holiday home for sick children.

You can help support children and families fundraising for medical treatment or equipment.

The Bradley Lowery foundation supports all families who need to fundraise for medical treatment or equipment not available on the NHS.

You can help donate by clicking HERE.

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