Brave Bradley Lowery's battle against cancer inspires Northamptonshire police officer to help appeal
A police officer from Northamptonshire will be delivering gifts and more than 800 Christmas cards to the family of a five-year-old boy battling cancer.
Pc Colin Gray, from the force's Cross Borders unit, says he was inspired by the thousands of messages of support across social media for young Bradley Lowery, from Blackhall near Hartlepool.
Earlier this month, Bradley's parents were given the devastating news by medics that the time he has left is now limited after recent scans showed the cancer he has been fighting was growing. However, doctors have agreed for the Sunderland fan to take part in a trial - paid for with cash raised in his name - which could go some way to prolong his life.
If things go well Bradley, from Blackhall, will be due to start the GD2 anti-body chemotherapy combination in January.
Bradley has touched the hearts of people across the globe and his family's appeal for Christmas cards has been an astonishing success, with the total now standing at more than 200,000 cards. The Royal Mail sorting office in Hartlepool has even had to set up a special section just for Bradley, something they normally do for towns and villages.
Pc Gray, who operates out of Oundle, will be meeting members of Bradley's family tomorrow, Wednesday December 21, when he hands over the cards and gifts.
He told this newspaper: "I read all about on social media as I am part of the @crossbordercops Twitter account. It really plucked at my heart strings and I thought that if all he is asking for is Christmas cards, surely I can do something to help make that dream come true.
"I asked for people across Northamptonshire Police to give cards and we ended up with nearly 900."
Pc Gray said the response had been fantastic and local firms have also donated gifts, including Northampton Town, which gave a signed shirt.
A spokesman for the club said: "The whole of football has been touched by Bradley's story and it has been great to see how clubs, players and supporters have rallied around.
"We wanted to play our part and show our support and are delighted to send a signed shirt up for Bradley, which we are grateful to Northamptonshire Police for delivering on our behalf.
"We send our very best wishes to Bradley and his family."
Pc Gray said Croucher's Recovery had donated a teddy bear and a toy recovery truck, the Husbands Bosworth helicopter based had given a signed photograph of the team, Manitou Trucks had donated a toy truck and the police force had donated a policeman's helmet.