'He really deserves this' - your messages for Jermain Defoe as footballer given OBE for charity work

Hundreds of you have paid tribute to the work of former Sunderland striker Jermain Defoe after he was awarded an OBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours list.

Announced on Friday, Defoe was handed the accolade in recognition of his charitable work for the foundation set up in his name, which was founded in 2013 to support vulnerable children in St Lucia.

The striker, who now plays for Bournemouth, touched thousands of hearts when, during his time at Sunderland AFC, he struck up a friendship with Bradley Lowery.

The little boy's fight against neuroblastoma cancer inspired countless fundraisers across the world - and we all watched on as "best friend" Jermain Defoe dedicated his own time to making lasting memories with Bradley, and supporting him during his final days.

The pair appeared together on the pitch at the Stadium of Light and Wembley, with Defoe also attending Bradley's sixth birthday party, held in his home village of Blackhall, along with then-Sunderland teammate Vito Mannone.

Speaking as news of his award was made public, the footballer dedicated the OBE to Bradley and said: "It’s obviously mixed emotions because obviously standing here (is) one of the proudest moments of my life, but at the same time remembering all the hurt.

“I’ve got great memories of Bradley in my head but it wasn’t easy seeing someone that you love suffer like that, especially a young kid, where he didn’t really understand what was going on and you have to remain positive.”

Here are some of your message to Jermain Defoe from social media:

Ed Akay: "Jermain Defoe, is a legend to any Sunderland fan. Off the pitch he taught the whole country a lesson in compassion, him and Bradley were a fantastic team."

Norman Clarke: "Come back to the stadium mate for a visit. Let the people of Sunderland show you what we think of you. I guarantee you the reception will blow the roof off."

Bradley Lowery and best friend Jermain Defoe, pictured at Bradley's sixth birthday party in Blackhall.

Bradley Lowery and best friend Jermain Defoe, pictured at Bradley's sixth birthday party in Blackhall.

Caroline Phillips Olaman: "In a world full of self-centered people you shone. The bond Bradley and yourself had was second to none. Don't ever change, Bradley is always by your side."

Claire Marie Straughan: "Congratulations Jermain, Well deserved, and I'm sure Bradley will be looking down on you and he will be bursting with pride."

Deborah Spraggon: "The love and compassion Defoe showed to Bradley came from the heart. It was obvious to anyone the special bond they had and they both showed us how to love and help each other."

Gina Moralee: "What an amazing bond he formed with Bradley a true gentleman with a big heart for the world to see, so many need to take a lesson from him well-deserved OBE."

The pair together.

The pair together.

Steven Wright: "What can i say that hasn't already has been said ... a proper superhero, congratulations to a top top man Bradley's one and only superhero Defoe."

Alison McCombie: "If anyone deserves this recognition it's Jermain, Bradley loved him with his whole being and Jermain gave his all to him, their love for each other was plain to see, he gave that beautiful little boy so much happiness."

Related content: Sunderland striker Jermain Defoe made OBE in Queen's Birthday Honours for charity work

Liz Gardiner: "One of the few deserved Birthday Honours. A humble gentleman who made a little boy happy and continues to support the underprivileged. Well done Jermain and hope your charity continues to thrive."

Fareed Fred Abbas: "Well deserved. Top pro with a huge heart of gold. An honour to have had such great fella at our club."

Jane Swinhoe: "He really deserves this. I feel his friendship with Bradley was genuine and charity work was admirable."

Jermain Defoe dedicated much of his time to supporting Bradley and his family during his final days. Picture: Bradley Lowery Foundation.

Jermain Defoe dedicated much of his time to supporting Bradley and his family during his final days. Picture: Bradley Lowery Foundation.

Helen Robinson: "I'm delighted for him. Such a genuinely nice man."

Andrea Bulch: "Well deserved for an excellent role model."

Sandra Ahern: "Congrats to a man who knew how to share the blessing he was given, in the friendship of a wonderful boy, with the world of fans he was also blessed with."

Read more: Jermain Defoe says he would give up his OBE to have Bradley Lowery back

Edward Young: "Brilliant news for Jermaine Defoe for his love for Bradley Lowery's family, respect for everything he [has] done and the Foundation."

Diane Tucker: "He deserves it. For what he did for Bradley and made his last wishes come true. Good on him."

Debbie Leighton: "Well done you deserve it you made a little boy very happy."