Friends of Stephen Sutton – the terminally ill teenager from the UK who has raised £3million for charity – have broken a world record in his honour, ticking off another dream on his ‘bucket list’.
The brave 19-year-old, made a surprise appearance at his old school, in Burntwood, Staffordshire during the successful attempt for most people making heart shaped hand gestures.
The event had been planned before Stephen had suffered a serious downturn in his condition last month, which saw him issue a heartbreaking farewell to his followers on Twitter from his hospital bed.
Stephen’s friends had vowed to carry on with the attempt in a bid to get his name in the Guinness World Records book, achieving another item on his “bucket list” of things he wants to do before he dies.
However, his remarkable recovery meant he was discharged from hospital and was able to join his friends on Sunday for the attempt.
The record bid was led by school friend Hannah Telles, 17, with a total of 553 particpants each making a heart shaped hand gesture at the same time to secure Stephen’s place in the record books.
The record took place at Stephen’s former secondary school, Chase Terrace Technology College in his hometown of Burntwood, Staffs.
Hannah, pictured above, said: “We chose to break the heart shaped hand gesture record because it fits with Ste’s positivity message and we all love Ste, so we want to spread the love.
“It was so amazing that he was able to join us. Just a couple of weeks ago we didn’t think it would be possible that he’d be able to join us. This has been amazing!”
Hannah teamed up with Fixers, the national charity that helps young people campaign on any issue they want, to organise the event.
Margo Horsley, CEO of Fixers, said: “This idea was originally conceived by Stephen but then he became so ill his friends vowed to break the world record in his name. He has inspired so many people with his incredible positivity that we were never in any doubt he would achieve this. It is fantastic he was able to join in the record breaking with all the other Fixers. ”
Stephen, who was diagnosed with bowel cancer at 15, became a Fixer last year to hold a ‘Good Gestures Day’ – handing out free hugs, high fives and handshakes.
Before Stephen’s condition deteriorated and he made an emotional farewell from his hospital bed, he and his friends, now at universities across the UK, had decided to turn Good Gestures Day into a nationwide event.
Friends in Birmingham, London, Liverpool, Nottingham, Falmouth, Swansea, Manchester and Sheffield swung into action and even complete strangers in Glasgow and Sunderland were inspired to arrange the events, which will all take place on Saturday, May 10.
More information about National Good Gestures Day can be found at http://www.fixers.org.uk/home/news/good-gestures.php/news/good-gestures.php