Stephen Sutton funeral: #ThumbsUp for Stephen from across the nation

Mourners and supporters around the country gave a "Thumbs Up" in memory of the inspirational teenager

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The Independent Online

The nation has come together to give a “Thumbs Up” in memory of teenager Stephen Sutton, who helped to raise £4 million in the fight against cancer.

Hundreds of people gathered outside the West Door of Lichfield Cathedral on Friday to celebrate the work of the 19-year-old, who died from the disease on 14 May.

At the strike of the 11th bell at 11am, everyone present put their thumbs up, followed by a minute of applause.

And as the clapping died away, a lone voice from the crowd cried “Go Steve”, and a huge cheer went up.

The Staffordshire cathedral is host to a two-day vigil for the teenager, whose white coffin was Thursday witnessed by 7,000 mourners in what the Dean of Lichfield, the Very Revered Adrian Dorber, called a “phenomenal” display of human unity, for the man he said “has become everybody's favourite son around here”.

And elsewhere, individuals throughout the UK took to social media to express their support and celebrate the life of Stephen.

Under the hashtag #ThumbsUpForStephen, groups from all walks of life posted their own “Thumbs Up” pictures on Facebook and Twitter.

Stephen’s mother, Jane Sutton, had earlier asked the public to join in the social media "thunderclap".

“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,” she wrote on the Stephen’s Story Facebook page.

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




Before his death, Stephen, who was diagnosed aged just 15, said: “I don't see the point in measuring life in terms of time any more.

"I'd rather measure life in terms of making a difference."

The brave teenager doing his own "Thumbs Up"

Teenage Cancer Trust chief executive Siobhan Dunn said Stephen's name would "never be forgotten" because it would live on through the charity's work.

She added: "I think it's really important there's a public celebration of Stephen's life and I think that's exactly what he would have wanted."

Paying tribute at Thursday’s service, the Dean of Lichfield told gathered mourners that Stephen "in his all too brief life" had taught "how to make the unacceptable beautiful".

"He chose to share his exuberance with us, not his pain," he added.

"Stephen's been an inspiration and we all want to share in the sense of grateful, hopeful possibility."

Stephen Sutton's brother Chris gives a "Thumbs Up" as Stephen's coffin stands in Lichfield Cathedral

Turning to the purpose of the vigil, he said: "Rituals and gestures don't change the world by themselves.

"But they can change us, and we can change the world."

Additional reporting by Press Association