THE former classmates of young Bradley Lowery had a surprise visit for Christmas when the Sunderland boss and two of his players arrived to hand out presents.

Black Cats manager Chris Coleman visited Blackhall Colliery Primary School, in County Durham, alongside defender Bryan Oviedo and goalkeeper Mika Domingues as part of the club’s charity campaign inspired by one of its best known young fans.

They brought Christmas presents for Bradley’s classmates in Year two before sitting down to watch the school’s nativity play.

Mr Coleman said: “It is hugely important to come and meet the people who were around Bradley, and were strong for Bradley, and his family.

“I met Gemma Lowery for the first time today and I was overwhelmed by her strength and positivity.

Sunderland has launched its For Bradley campaign, inspired by Bradley, who died in July following a brave battle with neuroblastoma.

The six-year-old, who was a passionate Sunderland supporter, captured the hearts of the nation with his beaming smile in the face of his illness.

The aim of the campaign is to build a holiday home for sick children and their families, in partnership with the Bradley Lowery Foundation.

Mr Coleman added: “Bradley’s story puts life into perspective, which sometimes you can forget when you live within the bubble of football.

“We are able to make a difference to the lives of others and I am proud that we are honouring Bradley’s memory by helping to create a lasting legacy in his name.”

At the end of the event, the footballers presented the school with a framed For Bradley shirt, which are on sale to raise money for the Bradley Lowery Foundation.

All money raised from sales of the special edition shirt will help create “Bradley’s Place”, which would be run by the foundation and would provide a space for families to spend with each other while facing terminal illnesses.

The club is also trying to get people involved by asking fans to share pictures of themselves giving a double thumbs up – a gesture Bradley became famed for through his illness –using the #ForBradley hashtag on twitter and Instagram.

During his illness, Bradley was a mascot for the club on several occasions and formed a particularly strong bond with striker Jermain Defoe, even accompanying him onto pitch before one of England’s World Cup qualifiers in March.

Shirts are available to buy online from or from the SAFC shop in the Galleries.