Thousands pay final 'thumbs up' to Stephen Sutton

Thousands turned out over both days to file past Stephen's white coffin as it lay in a place of honour inside the Staffordshire cathedral. Credit: Joe Giddens/PA Wire

More than 10,000 people have joined Stephen Sutton's family and friends in paying an emotional farewell to inspirational teenager cancer victim.

The memorial service at Lichfield Cathedral marked the end of two days' thanksgiving to the 19-year-old, whose positivism in the throes of his illness inspired more than £4 million in donations to the Teenage Cancer Trust.

ITV News Correspondent Damon Green reports:

Cancer survivors and sufferers were among those who had patiently queued to grieve the loss of the teenager from Burntwood in Staffordshire, who succumbed to multiple tumours on May 14 after being diagnosed with bowel cancer at 15.

The Dean of Lichfield, the Very Reverend Adrian Dorber, hailed the turnout as a "phenomenal" display of human unity for a man he said "has become everybody's favourite son".

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

Siobhan Dunn, chief executive of the Teenage Cancer Trust, said: "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, outreach nursing teams, and youth support workers.

Comedian Jason Manford, who befriended Stephen Sutton during his fundraising effort, joined the mourners in Lichfield. Credit: Joe Giddens/PA Wire

The mourners also heard from Stephen's former headteacher, Stuart Jones, who said there was "a collective pride" at Chase Terrace Technology College at its former pupil.

Mr Jones had joined Stephen in a 15,000ft skydive as part of his bucket list and said: "I hated it, as I expected, but am really glad I did it. His spirit makes us want to be bolder and braver."

Stephen Sutton's mother Jane and brother Chris released 19 balloons in his honour. Credit: Joe Giddens/PA Wire

Outside, as his coffin emerged from the cathedral the crowd of 1,200 again clapped for a final time and gave the cortege a final thumbs up salute - the positive sign Stephen adopted while raising the millions.

As the hearse pulled away, the crowd grew silent while others threw yellow flowers and the coffin was driven to a private family funeral.