Bournemouth striker Jermaine Defoe received the OBE at Buckingham Palace for his charity work and dedicated the award to his friend, Bradley Lowery who passed away just last year.
The veteran striker was given the highly coveted award in June following his work in the Jermaine Defoe foundation that supports homeless, vulnerable and abused children in St Lucia –his family’s home country.
However, along with his charity work, the Bournemouth player also famously struck up a friendship with Bradley Lowery – a terminally sick six year old Sunderland fan during his time with the Black Cats.
Lowery sadly died in 2017 after a short battle with cancer and while Defoe admitted he still hurts from the passing away of his dear friend, he dedicated the award to the six year old.
“I would like to dedicate this to my little friend Bradley”, Defoe said, speaking to Sky Sports News. “Everyone knows the relationship I had with Bradley”.
“I got this for my Foundation but I think above all of that this relationship I had with Bradley. I had great memories of the little boy and it still hurts. But to receive something like this today, it makes me feel good. I’m proud and happy.”
Jermaine Defoe was presented with the award by the Prince of Wales at Buckingham Palace with the 36 year old pictured shortly afterwards posing proudly with his OBE.
The striker’s friendship with Bradley started in 2016 while he was still at Sunderland, with the young fan seeing Defoe as his hero.
Defoe tattooed “Brads” on his arm after the passing away of his young friend to serve as a permanent reminder of his special relationship with Lowery.