Brave Stephen hailed with thumbs-up at Donington

The Download festival crowd today took part in a mass thumbs-up moment in memory of brave Stephen Sutton, the cancer fighter who inspired millions of people round the world.

The 19-year-old passed away last month after his determination to enjoy life to the very end generated donations of over £1million for the Teenage Cancer Trust. He’d originally hoped to raise £10,000.

It was later confirmed that the main stage at Donington would be renamed the Stephen Sutton Stage in his honour.

Today, after Skindred completed their set on that stage, all it took was promoter Andy Copping to mention Stephen’s name to send the crowd into loud cheers.

The minute’s applause was rapturous, and even people walking by stopped to take part. The audience then all held the thumbs-up pose that Stephen made famous from his hospital bed.

Matt Fraser, 35, from Chester, said it was a touching tribute. “It’s great that even when people have been partying all day they take the time to show appreciation for Stephen,” he added. “It was a really nice touch.”

Sophie Weiss, also 35 and from Chester, said: “It was really genuine. The rock community can be proud.”

Stephen’s campaign is still accepting donations, with over £4.2m given to date.

Stef wrote close to 5,000 stories during his time as assistant online news editor and later as online news editor between 2014-2016. An accomplished reporter and journalist, Stef has written extensively for a number of UK newspapers and also played bass with UK rock favourites Logan. His favourite bands are Pixies and Clap Your Hands Say Yeah. Stef left the world of rock'n'roll news behind when he moved to his beloved Canada in 2016, but he started on his next 5000 stories in 2022.