Thousands of mourners turned out to celebrate the life of an inspirational teenage cancer victim on the day a fighting fund he launched topped £4 million.
Hundreds gathered outside Lichfield Cathedral today to witness the sombre arrival of a horse-drawn carriage bearing Stephen Sutton, whose bravery in the face of terminal cancer touched people across the world.
The 19-year-old is lying in a place of honour inside the cathedral until tomorrow, after the family requested the public be allowed to celebrate the life of a young man who had urged people to live their lives to the fullest.
Stephen's arrival at the cathedral, where mourners had been asked not to wear black, coincided with news earlier in the day that more than £4 million in donations had been pledged in his name to the Teenage Cancer Trust.
As his hearse arrived, drawn by four white horses, resplendent in yellow head dresses, there was spontaneous applause from the crowd.
A bright yellow wreath bearing the icon of a smiley face lay beside the white coffin.The teenager, from Burntwood in Staffordshire, had originally launched his fundraising appeal with a target of £10,000.But a simple determination to live his life, while under the constant shadow of terminal bowel cancer - creating a bucket list and spreading awareness to other young people - saw his campaign gain rapid momentum.Before his death, Stephen, who was diagnosed aged just 15, said: "
– Stephen Sutton
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 including Russell Brand, Simon Cowell, Ricky Gervais and Jason Manford.
Prime Minister David Cameron went to meet Stephen while in hospital, and following his death on May 14, 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.
Following the two-day vigil ending tomorrow afternoon, Stephen's family are to hold a private funeral where they will say their final goodbyes.However, at 11am tomorrow, Stephen's mother Jane has asked people to join in a Thumbs Up For Stephen event, and "do something to make others happy".
– Teenage Cancer Trust's chief executive Siobhan Dunn
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.
He was looking for us to put the fun into his funeral so hopefully we're going to do that.
Lichfield Cathedral is such a beautiful space and it's an opportunity for people especially from the local community who have been so incredibly supportive towards Stephen and all his family to come along and pay their respects and to celebrate his life.
The Teenage Cancer Trust's chief executive Siobhan Dunn said earlier today Stephen's memory would "never be forgotten" because it would live on through the work of the charity.