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Friends hug strangers for Stephen

Published 16/05/2015

Stephen Sutton fought an inspirational battle against bowel cancer
Stephen Sutton fought an inspirational battle against bowel cancer

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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