Stoke & Staffordshire

Stephen Sutton: Fundraising total passes £4m mark

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Media captionStephen Sutton drew up a "bucket list" of things he wanted to achieve before he died

The appeal by teenage charity fundraiser Stephen Sutton has passed the £4m mark.

The news comes as thousands of people were due to gather for a vigil for Stephen, who died earlier this month.

The 19-year-old, from Burntwood, Staffordshire launched his appeal in aid of the Teenage Cancer Trust.

His mother Jane said the memorial service, due to be held at Lichfield Cathedral later, would be a "celebration of his life".

The Very Reverend Adrian Dorber, dean of the cathedral, said Stephen had "lived positively on behalf of others".

'Sea of yellow'

People across Staffordshire, where Stephen lived, have been marking his life with a display of yellow ribbons.

Writing on his Facebook page, Mrs Sutton said: "Local shops and homes in Lichfield are responding to an appeal to 'paint the town yellow'.

"Our home town, Burntwood, is already covered in yellow ribbons in his memory."

Image caption Yellow ribbons have gone up all over Burntwood, Staffordshire

She said she did not want people who came to the service to feel they had to wear black.

"Stephen wanted to put the fun in funeral," she said.

At 18:00 BST Stephen's coffin will be taken by horse-drawn carriage to the cathedral, where it will be laid.

The cathedral will remain open until midnight for people to pay their respects.

It will reopen at 07:00 on Friday, before a public farewell ceremony at 15:00.

After that, a private family funeral will take place.

Image copyright Stephen Sutton's family
Image caption Stephen was diagnosed with terminal cancer when he was 15

Stephen was diagnosed with terminal cancer aged 15. He teenager drew up a "bucket list" of things he wanted to achieve before he died.

This led to him completing a skydive and playing drums in front of 90,000 people before the Uefa Champions League final at Wembley.

Image copyright Make a Wish foundation
Image caption Skydiving was one of the things on Stephen's bucket list

Dean Dorber said: "Stephen lived his life at the double. He lived so positively on behalf of others.

"The best way of remembering him is to keep his spirit alive."

Mrs Sutton has called on people to take part in a social media "thunderclap" - a message posted simultaneously on Facebook and Twitter - in memory of her son at 11:00 on Friday.

Chief executive of the Teenage Cancer Trust, Siobhan Dunn, said it was "difficult to overstate" the importance of the work Stephen did in raising awareness about cancer in young people.

"Stephen was an extraordinary young man who has had the most incredible impact on the lives of so many young people with cancer," she said.

"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."

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