Stephen Sutton: Moving scenes as crowds gather to remember inspirational teen
30 MAY 2014
Thousands of people gathered for the start of a two-day vigil in memory of inspirational teenagerStephen Sutton on Thursday evening.
Crowds waited outside Lichfield Cathedral to pay tribute to the teenage cancer sufferer, who managed to raise millions of pounds for charity before his death.
Teenage cancer sufferer Stephen Sutton passed away on 14 May
That same day, his JustGiving fundraising total reached an incredible £4million.
The memorial began at 7pm with a short opening ceremony. Around 2,000 people stood outside the cathedral fell silent as Stephen's coffin arrived on a horse-drawn carriage from his home in Burntwood, before queuing to pay their final respects.
Members of the public had also lined the streets of the city, which was decorated in yellow flowers and ribbons in remembrance.
Around 2,000 people turned up at the cathedral to pay their respects to Stephen
Similarly, many mourners wore yellow or other bright colours in accordance with Stephen's mother's wishes that people should not dress in black, to help make the occasion a "sunshine celebration".
The vigil remained open until midnight, and was reopened again at 7am on Friday morning ahead of a final ceremony at 3pm. Stephen's coffin will then leave Lichfield for a private funeral for family and friends.
Inspirational Stephen, 19, passed away on 14 May, having been diagnosed with terminal cancer when he was 15.
Speaking inside the cathedral, The Dean of Lichfield, the Very Reverend Adrian Dorber, said: "Stephen's all too brief life has shown us the triumph of hope.
Members of the public lined the streets as the horse drawn carriage made it's way through Lichfield to the cathedral
"In the last few weeks he's won the hearts and minds of people across the world and we are all the better for it."
Shortly after his diagnosis, Stephen drew up a 'bucket list' of things he wanted to achieve before he died, which led to him skydiving and playing drums in front of 90,000 people before the UEFA Champions League final in Wembley.
He originally hoped to earn £10,000 for the Teenage Cancer Trust, but after sailing past the amount, set his sights on £1million.
Stephen's brother, mother and grandfather sat at the front of the cathedral on Thursday
His inspirational story spread around the world, and he received donations from nearly 100 different countries.
His mother Jane has called for the public to take part in a social media 'thunderclap' – a message posted simultaneously on Facebook and Twitter - at 11am on Friday in memory of her son. A hashtag #ThumbsupforStephen is already in place.
Stephen Sutton's mother has called for a media thunderclap - for people to post the message #thumbsupforstephen
"Or you could give the thumbs up to a stranger, have a cup of tea and a slice of cake, think a positive thought, clap, cheer or even perform a random act of kindness," Jane wrote on the Stephen's Story Facebook page.
"Do something that makes you and others happy in Stephen's memory."