Family and friends will wear football shirts when the funeral of six-year-old mascot Bradley Lowery takes place on Friday.
Bradley, whose battle with a rare childhood cancer captured hearts, died on Friday in his parents’ arms at his home in Blackhall, County Durham.
He had a close friendship with Premier League footballer Jermain Defoe who said Bradley had been his “best friend” and will continue to inspire him.
Bradley was a mascot for Sunderland several times last season and found a place in the hearts of thousands of football fans around the world.
The youngster was also a mascot for England at Wembley.
Supporters had hoped a massive fundraising effort last year could get him to the US for pioneering treatment for the childhood cancer neuroblastoma, but his heartbroken family announced at Christmas that his cancer was terminal.
Bradley’s funeral will take place at St Joseph Church, in Blackhall, at 11.15am on Friday.
A statement from the twitter account @Bradleysfight said the funeral is “open to everyone who would like to come and celebrate Bradley’s life and pay their respects to show him how much he was loved”.
Speakers outside will allow anyone who is unable to get into the church to listen to the service and “people can line the streets if they wish to do so”.
The statement added: “You can wear whatever you want for the funeral but the family and friends have chosen the theme cancer has no colours. So they are wearing football tops, it doesn’t matter what team or colour.”
Cancer has no colours was one of the messages which football fans around the country wrote on banners which they held up at matches as they chanted Bradley’s name.
The service will be followed by a private cremation.
Instead of flowers, the family has requested donations be made to the Bradley Lowery Foundation.