Little fighter Bradley Lowery and three of his incredible fundraisers received a standing ovation when they were honoured with an award in recognition of their efforts.
Blackhall five-year-old Bradley, who is undergoing pioneering treatment for terminal neuroblastoma, was awarded a Special Recognition Award along with fundraisers Lynn Murphy, Michael Eggleston and fellow youngster Charlie Creaser.
Following an emotional presentation – which featured a personal message to Bradley from Sunderland AFC player Jermain Defoe – Bradley’s grandparents, Marie and Howard Stonebank, collected the award on his behalf.
Family friend Lynn Murphy, who has been fundraising for Bradley since he was diagnosed, said she was overwhelmed to receive the award.
“I wasn’t expecting it at all,” she said. “I do what I do for Bradley, I didn’t even think about recognition. I just do it because I love him.
“The last three years have been a long hard slog, but its all worth it when you see his smiling face.
“I am proud of myself, for being part of that journey, as it’s fantastic to see how the world and the community has taken him into their hearts.”
Meanwhile, the man behind Bradley’s legendary SAFC mascot appearances and many other fundraising activities, Michael Eggleston, said he was delighted to receive the award.
Michael said: “I am humbled and overwhelmed. I do not consider myself as special in any way. I just do what I do.”
He added: “All we did was create an opportunity for Bradley to be a mascot.”
He said the real hero was Bradley who had “stolen people’s hearts”.
Fellow battling youngster Charlie, six, who has cerebral palsy, walked the longest distance of his life – one mile – in aid of Bradley’s cancer fight.
He raised a fantastic £1,725, and mum Michelle said she was so proud of him.
“Nothing gets to him. He is very determined and if he wants to do it, he will do it.”
She said everyone from Charlie’s nana and grandad to people from the local pub turned out to watch him do his walk – and they even created a banner to spur him on.