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#ThumbsUpForStephen: 10,000 Mourners Pay Tribute To Stephen Sutton At Funeral For Cancer Teen Who Moved A Nation

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He was the teenager who inspired a nation with his courage and commitment, raising more than £4m for the fight against a disease which took his life. And now 10,000 people have joined a vigil to Stephen Sutton, as his funeral took place at Lichfield Cathedral.

A service marking the end of two days' thanksgiving for Sutton's life at the cathedral was attended by his mother, Jane, brother Chris, and friends, along with a host of celebrities including comedian Jason Manford.

Hundreds gave a 'Thumbs Up' to the memory of the brave 19-year-old campaigner, who succumbed to multiple tumours on May 14 after a determined fight.

stephen sutton

Members of the public give the 'thumbs up' sign for the life of teenage cancer fundraiser Stephen Sutton during a vigil at Lichfield Cathedral

The hashtag #ThumbsUpForStephen become the top trend in the UK at 11am with dozens of public figures tweeting to pay their respects.

Cathedral officials confirmed thousands had turned out to view Stephen's white coffin as it lay in a place of honour inside the cathedral in what 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".

Mourners Celebrate Life Of Inspirational Cancer Teen (PICTURES)

The arrival of Stephen's coffin at the cathedral yesterday, where mourners had been asked not to wear black, coincided with news earlier that day that more than £4 million in donations had been pledged in his name to the Teenage Cancer Trust.

His inspiration has prompted a huge public out-pouring of grief with people coming to pay their respects, sign the books of condolence and light candles in his memory.

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In a mark of the strength of feeling towards the young man there was spontaneous applause when his coffin arrived at the cathedral borne in a horse-drawn hearse.

The Dean of Lichfield said Stephen's memory had "energised people" both young and old, among them cancer survivors and sufferers, who had patiently filed through the cathedral since yesterday.

He said the enduring lesson of Stephen, from Burntwood, Staffordshire, was "to live not as a victim but as a free young person", adding that his inspiration was to "offer an alternative to the bleak, mean view, we often have of life".

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Members of the public shed a tear as they take part in a minute of celebration for the life of teenage cancer fundraiser Stephen Sutton

Stephen's former headteacher, Stuart Jones, of Chase Terrace Technology College, said there was "a collective pride" among students and staff at the fact that the teenager had been a pupil at the school.

He added: "It is hard to comprehend how he found the courage, determination and energy to achieve what he did in his last few years."

These achievements, brought together in a bucket list, included urging Jones to join him in a 15,000ft skydive.

"I hated it, as I expected, but am really glad I did it," he said. "His spirit makes us want to be bolder and braver."

stephen sutton

Members of the public take part in a minute of celebration and give the 'thumbs up' sign

Siobhan Dunn, chief executive of the Teenage Cancer Trust, said: "What really matters is what you do with the time you have. The difference Stephen has made has been immeasurable."

She said the charity would spend the donations "supporting and developing" the trust's 22 UK units, services, outreach nursing units, and youth support workers.

"Young people should not be defined by their cancer," she said, adding that the charity would continue to work under Stephen's ethos that "while he may have cancer, cancer did not have him".

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She said Stephen's "positivity" was a driving force which meant his memory "lives on in what we do".

"How fitting it is a young person with cancer proved the catalyst to supporting many more young people with cancer, now and in the future."

Concluding the service, the Dean said he was "glad and proud to be part of the same human race which had as one of its examples Stephen Sutton".

He added: "It would be usual now, if this was a church service, to say 'rest in peace' but I can't imagine Stephen doing that.

"He'd say 'Live it up', so - one more time - let's give him a thumbs up."

stephen sutton

A service marking the end of two days' thanksgiving for Sutton's life at the cathedral was attended by his mother, Jane and brother Chris

The teenager's simple determination to live his life, while under the constant shadow of life-limiting bowel cancer - creating a bucket list and spreading awareness to other young people - saw a campaign to raise £10,000 gain rapid momentum.

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."

It was that attitude which earned the highest praise and admiration, including from celebrities like Russell Brand, Simon Cowell and Ricky Gervais.

Prime Minister David Cameron went to meet Stephen while in hospital, and following his death, said: "I'm deeply saddened to hear that Stephen Sutton has died.

"His spirit, bravery and fund-raising for cancer research were all an inspiration."

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