Stephen Sutton funeral: Hundreds of mourners pay tribute at public vigil

The public celebrate the life of the fundraising teenager at Lichfield Cathedral

Thousands of mourners have begun celebrating the life of Stephen Sutton this evening as a two-day gets underway.

The tribute started at 7pm yesterday evening when a short opening ceremony took place at Lichfield Cathedral. Readings included Dust by Elizabeth Jennings (scroll down to read the poem in full).

The around 2,000-strong crowd fell silent as his coffin arrived, before queuing to pay personal tributes.

Many wore yellow or bright colours, in accordance with his mother's wish that people should not dress in black as her son was keen to “put the fun in funeral” and make the occasion a “sunshine celebration”.

His coffin was transported via a horse-drawn carriage to the cathedral from his home in Burntwood at 6pm, as members of the public lined the streets.

The city was decorated in yellow flowers and ribbons in remembrance of the late teenager, who raised over £4million for the Teenage Cancer Trust through relentless campaigning.

The 19-year-old died on 14 May, having been diagnosed with terminal cancer when he was 15.

The vigil remained open until midnight, and reopened again at 7am this morning before a farewell ceremony at 3pm. Stephen’s coffin will then leave Lichfield at 3.45pm for a private funeral for friends and family.

His mother, Jane Sutton, called for the public to take part in a social “thunderclap” media at 11am today in memory of her son. 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,” wrote his mother on the Stephen’s Story Facebook page.

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

Dust by Elizabeth Jennings

We are made of dust/

We are flying on every wind/

Blown to the back of the earth, stormed at, broken, defiled/

We are people of dust, but dust with a living mind. Dust with a spirit/

Grace goes to the end of the earth. Follows the dark act/

The thought, lying, wounding, distraught/

We are dust from our birth, but in that dust is wrought a place for visions/

A hope that reaches beyond the stars conjures and pauses the seas/

Dust discovers our own proud torn destinies/

Yes, we are dust to the bone.

DAVID CAMERON AND RICKY GERVAIS LEAD TRIBUTES TO STEPHEN SUTTON
STEPHEN SUTTON: AN INSPIRATIONAL TEENAGER
DONATIONS TO STEPHEN SUTTON'S JUST GIVING PAGE SOAR
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Ashdown Group: HR Manager - West London - £50,000

£40000 - £50000 per annum + bonus: Ashdown Group: HR Manager - West London - £...

Recruitment Genius: Recruitment & HR Administrator

£17000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Guru Careers: HR Manager / HR Business Partner

£55 - 65k (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: A HR Manager / HR Business Partner i...

Recruitment Genius: Senior HR Assistant

£23000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Company's vision is to be t...

Day In a Page

Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
10 best statement lightbulbs

10 best statement lightbulbs

Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

Dustin Brown

Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test