Stephen Sutton: Funeral and public vigil to be held in honour of fundraising teenager

His family has invited well-wishers to light a candle and write in a condolence book at Stephen's local cathedral

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The Independent Online

The family of Stephen Sutton, the teenager who raised millions of pounds for a teenager cancer charity before he died, has invited members of the public to attend a vigil for the 19-year-old at Lichfield Cathedral, ahead of his private funeral on Friday.

Diagnosed with bowel cancer aged 15, the teenager from Burntwood, Staffordshire died last week.  In the weeks leading up to his death, he made international headlines and was hailed an inspiration when an emotional farewell message he wrote on his Stephen’s Story Facebook page prompted thousands of people to donate to the Teenager Cancer Trust.

Soon, celebrities including Benedict Cumberbatch and Jason Manford took to social media to encourage more donations - helping Stephen to raise over £4million for the Teenage Cancer Trust.

Jane Sutton, Stephen’s mother, said in a statement posted to Facebook on Wednesday, that her son’s body will lay in a place of honour in Lichfield Cathedral, allowing well-wishers to pay their respects to the well-respected teenager.

The Cathedral will be open from 7pm until midnight on Thursday 29 May, and from 7am until 3pm on Friday 30 May, when his body will be taken to a funeral attended by his family and close friends, his mother confirmed.

Rather than a minute’s silent to commemorate Stephen’s life, his family are encouraging members of the public to take part in a “moment of celebration”, during which they hope people will share a 'thumbs up' for Stephen on social media as part of the Teenage Cancer Trust’s Thunderclap campaign.

Mrs Sutton added in the statement: “The love and support people are showing for Stephen is a great comfort at this very difficult time. We know that thousands of people have been inspired by Stephen’s story. We want to give all of his friends and supporters, and especially local people who supported him from the start, the opportunity to come and say goodbye.

"People have already been incredibly generous, but if anyone would like to make a donation to Teenage Cancer Trust, they can do so on Stephen’s JustGiving page.”

Stephen's family are planning a public event to celebrate Stephen’s life later in the year, she added.