Stephen Sutton funeral: His mother urges mourners not to wear black as a ‘celebration of his life and achievements’

Jane Sutton tells of how her son wanted to inject ‘the fun in funeral’

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The Independent Online

Stephen Sutton’s mother has encouraged mourners at her son’s funeral tomorrow (May 29) not to wear black to ensure that the two-day ceremony is a “celebration of his life and achievements”.

“Stephen wanted to put the fun in funeral, so don’t feel you need to wear black,” Jane Sutton wrote on the Stephen’s Story Facebook page this afternoon.

A vigil will take place from 7pm tomorrow until midnight at Lichfield Cathedral, Staffordshire, where the public will be invited to pay their respects. His coffin will be taken from his family home in Burntwood by horse and carriage, before being carried to the cathedral at 7pm where it will be “will be laid in a place of honour” ahead of a short opening ceremony will begin.

The vigil will reopen at 7am on Friday 30 May, before a public farewell ceremony at 3pm. At 3.45, Sutton’s coffin will leave Lichfield for a private family funeral.

“The vigil will give people a chance to pay their respects to Stephen in many ways, pausing at his coffin, lighting a candle, signing a book of condolence, laying flowers,” said his mother.

“As you are all aware Stephen touched millions of people with his joy and generosity.”

The 19-year-old died on 14 May, having been diagnosed with terminal cancer at the age of 15. He raised nearly £4 million for the Teenage Cancer Trust through relentless campaigning.

“The continued love and support for Stephen is wonderful and a great comfort,” Sutton’s mother continued.

Lichfield Cathedral where the two-day vigil will be held

“I want people to have the chance to come and pay their last respects to Stephen. It is important that the vigil at Lichfield Cathedral has an opening and a public farewell, so I invite people especially to come and be part of these two moments and remember Stephen.”

The historic city is expected to be a “sea of yellow” over the coming days, as local shops and homes respond to an appeal to “paint the town yellow”.

The book of condolence for Stephen Sutton at Lichfield Cathedral

Those who would like to pay tribute to Sutton, but are unable to attend the vigil, are asked to “take a moment at 11am on Friday 30 May to give a thumbs up for Stephen”. A hashtag #ThumbsupforStephen is already in place on Twitter.

“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 a kindness,” said Sutton.

“Do something that makes you and others happy in Stephen’s memory.”

Donations to Stephen Sutton's Just Giving page soar