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Stephen's mother 'proud' over MBE

The mother of teenage cancer hero Stephen Sutton has said receiving his MBE from the Queen was a "bitter-sweet" moment.

Jane Sutton collected the honour at Buckingham Palace today on behalf of her son, who died in May following a four-year battle against bowel cancer.

The 19-year-old raised more than £5 million for charity and became a household name for the way he approached his disease with good humour and stoicism, with his trademark thumbs-up sign a symbol of his positive attitude.

He was told just days before he died that he would be included on the Queen's Birthday Honours list.

Mrs Sutton said: "It was a very proud moment, but it is a bitter-sweet occasion.

"I'm feeling so proud to be collecting the award on behalf of Stephen but obviously wish he had been here to collect it himself.

"But it's just so nice that he knew about this award before he passed away, I'm so pleased about that.

"When he found out about it he did use the word 'awesome', he thought it was awesome. I remember he was in the hospital bed and he had a big smile on his face.

"He knew how important this was and how high an honour this was."

Mrs Sutton, who was accompanied by her parents and Stephen's younger brother, Christopher, said the Queen was "very impressed" with the amount of money Stephen had raised and told her she must be very proud.

Mrs Sutton is committed to continuing her son's fundraising and charity work with the Teenage Cancer Trust, which is dedicated to improving the quality of life and chances of survival for young cancer patients.

Since his death the family have been "coping together" she said, but continuing his legacy means life has been "120 miles an hour".

She added: "He's touched the hearts of so many people and inspired so many people.

"His fundraising is just part of his legacy. I don't think that's the only important thing because he also taught people to make the most of their lives and seize every opportunity.

"It's incredible. I know how many people Stephen touched, but he was just being Stephen."

The teenager, from Burntwood, Staffordshire, won the hearts of thousands of supporters, including Prime Minister David Cameron and comedian Jason Manford.

During his 44-month fight against metastatic bowel cancer, he managed to go skydiving and play the drums at a Wembley cup final.

It was part of a bucket list he drew up which also included raising £100,000 for the trust.

The MBE is perhaps the most prestigious honour in a line of awards that recognised the teenager's unique ability to capture the nation's heart and imagination.

Last month, Mrs Sutton accepted a posthumous award for Stephen at the Pride of Britain Awards.

Next week she will collect an honorary degree on his behalf from Coventry University, where 50 scholarships have been created using the money he raised for professionals to complete postgraduate certificates in Teenage and Young Adult Cancer Care.

The investiture ceremony, due to start at 11am, was briefly delayed while guests took part in a two-minute silence to mark Armistice Day.

The Queen privately observed the two-minute silence before starting the ceremony.

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