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Friends hug strangers for Stephen

Proud friends of inspirational teenage cancer hero Stephen Sutton have taken to the streets to offer strangers a hug in his memory.

Almost 1,000 people, who were moved by the 19-year-old's desire to use the time he had left while battling terminal bowel cancer to spread kindness, handed out hugs in his honour.

They were celebrating National Good Gestures Day 2015, a campaign that Stephen began with young people's social action charity Fixers in 2013. Stephen, of Burntwood, Staffordshire, died on May 14 last year following a four-year fight with the disease.

His close friend, Sadie Fox, 19, who was among the huggers to hit 15 city and town centres across the UK - including London, Manchester, Liverpool, Southampton, Falmouth, Glasgow, Belfast and Bristol - said it had been an "amazing" day.

She said: "The public were so open to our good gestures and we even had a couple of lads join in before a date! It's been so heart-warming to share Ste's story and positivity again, we're all so grateful to Fixers for making it possible."

There was a party spirit, complete with a conga line, at the event on London's Southbank.

George Gregory, of Fixers, said: "With the glorious sunshine it was a bit like being at a carnival. A couple of us started doing the conga and it just grew. It was exactly the atmosphere we were hoping for."

Launching this year's campaign, Stephen's mother, Jane Sutton, explained: "Stephen believed in the power of positivity. A hug can't heal but it can make us feel better."

National Good Gestures Day 2015 marks the end of a week-long social media memorial campaign #HugForStephen, which saw thousands of people share a hug in Stephen's honour.

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