In The News

Final farewell to inspirational teenager Stephen Sutton

Final farewell to inspirational teenager Stephen Sutton

HUNDREDS of people have celebrated the life of inspirational teenager Stephen Sutton who raised millions of pounds for charity during his battle against cancer.

19-year-old Stephen, who was from from Burntwood in Staffordshire, passed away two weeks ago. His coffin was taken to Lichfield Cathedral on Thursday evening (May 29). People applauded as the white, horse-drawn hearse arrived at the Cathedral. 

Following a short service, mourners gave a thumbs-up gesture — which had been used continually by Stephen —  as they filed past the coffin. 

Stephen’s mother, Jane Sutton, said the vigil had given people the opportunity to say goodbye: “We know that thousands of people had been inspired by Stephen’s story. We wanted to give all of his friends and supporters, and especially local people who supported him from the start, the opportunity to say goodbye.”

People were asked to give “A thumbs-up for Stephen” instead of a minute’s silence ahead of a private burial service.

Stephen had been diagnosed with bowel cancer when he was 15 and was told in 2012 that it was incurable. He used social media to document his battle against the disease and became an inspirational figure to millions by the way he dealt with his illness.

The teenager had embarked on two major projects — to complete a bucket list of things he wanted to do before he died, and to raise money the Teenage Cancer Trust.

His initial fundraising target had been £10,000, but as his story became widely known, and many celebrities had become involved, donations surged and at the time of his death more than £3.2 million had been raised.  The figure now stands at more than £4m (see below).

The charity’s chief executive, Siobhan Dunn, had paid tribute to the teenager at the time of his death: “Stephen was an exceptional young man and ambassador for Trust. He will be remembered for his incredible positivity by all who met or connected with him.”

Stephen had also managed to do many of the things he had put on his bucket list including: organising a charity football match, getting a tattoo, crowd surf in a rubber dingy at a gig, drumming in front of a huge crowd and skydiving for charity. He also broke a world record after he was joined by 553 friends and supporters to break the previous record of the most people to make a heart-shaped hand gesture.

To visit Stephen’s Just Giving page, click here.

To visit Stephen’s Facebook page, click here.

To view an interview in which comedian Jason Manford talks about why he supported Stephen’s fundraising effort, click here.

To see Stephen tell his own story, click here.

To view an excerpt from an interview given by Stephen, click here.

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