THE charity set up in memory of Bradley Lowery was officially launched on Sunday night at a glitzy ball.

Footballers, friends and family of the brave youngster were at the Hilton Hotel, in Gateshead for the launch of the Bradley Lowery Foundation.

Hundreds of people attended the event hosted by Gemma and Carl Lowery, Bradley’s parents.

Mrs Lowery said she was overwhelmed by the support she had received following the death of the six-year-old, who had spent most of his life battling neuroblastoma, last year.

She said: “It means the world to us because Bradley’s legacy is living on. Everyone is still thinking about Bradley and for me, as his mam, it’s overwhelming.

“I’m so proud of him and the foundation and I want to thank everyone for supporting us.

“It’s been phenomenal, it’s amazing. We have Everton, Middlesbrough, Newcastle and Sunderland all here as well as local businesses and the community as well. Everyone is still pulling together and wanting to support the foundation. We couldn’t ask for anything else really.”

She added: “It’s been very stressful and it’s been emotional. It’s our first gala ball and we want it to be perfect.

“It’s all about having fun and raising awareness about the foundation.”

Among the guests at the event were ex-Sunderland striker Jermain Defoe, who struck up a special friendship with the young fan after he appearing alongside him as a mascot.

There was also Sunderland manager Chris Coleman, and his wife Charlotte, Sunderland skipper John O’Shea and ex-Newcastle player Steve Harper.

The evening kicked off with a performance of Fly High Bradley, a charity single by Peterlee singer songwriter Nick Mcque, which is due to be released on Monday.

Entertainment was also provided by former X-Factor singer Ray Quinn, who replaced Che Chesterton, who was unable to perform at the last minute.

The Bradley Lowery Foundation has been set up to offer support to the families of other children suffering from serious illness and will raise money to fund treatments, as well as raise awareness.

Cash raised from the evening will be divided between the foundation and Sunderland’s For Brad campaign, which aims to create a holiday home for poorly children, where they can enjoy time with their families.

Mrs Lowery is due to meet with the architect next week to discuss plans for the holiday home, which she hopes will be in Scarborough, where Bradley enjoyed time during his illness.

Bradley, from Blackhall Colliery, who was diagnosed with the childhood cancer when he was 18 months old, captured the heart of the nation with his big smile and courage. The foundation has already raised thousands of pounds in memory of Bradley and has helped dozens of children buy specialist equipment and raise money for treatment not available on the NHS.

Mrs Lowery said: “We’ve had two success stories already. The ball has taken up a lot of our time so now I want to concentrate on the children and their families. I’m going to be spending a lot of time supporting them.”