Dame Deborah James’ funeral takes place in London

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A private ceremony was held for the cancer activist’s funeral on July 20, attended by close family and friends



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The late Lady Deborah James

The funeral of cancer activist Dame Deborah James was held in London today, Wednesday 20 July.

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Among the mourners were TV presenters Lorraine Kelly and Gaby Roslin, as well as McFly’s Tom Fletcher and his wife Giovanna.

Gaby Roslin attends the funeral of cancer activist Dame Deborah James today (Image: Getty)

After podcast host You, Me and the Big C was diagnosed in 2016, Dame Deborah kept her followers updated on her treatments and inspired millions with her colon cancer awareness campaign.

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In her final months, nearly £7million has been raised through her Bowelbabe research fundraiser, with the amount increasing even further after her death was announced on June 28.

Deborah’s career

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The late Lady Deborah James

London-born Deborah Anne James was a journalist, teacher, podcast host and charity activist.

Prior to her terminal diagnosis, Deborah worked at the Salesian School in Chertsey as an Assistant Principal specializing in Computer Science and E-Learning and at the Matthew Arnold School in Staines-upon-Thames.

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She began documenting her cancer journey by working as a columnist for The Sun before launching the BBC Radio 5 podcast You, Me and the Big C with cancer patients Lauren Mahon and Rachael Bland in March 2018. That same year, Deborah published her book, F*** You Cancer: How to Face the Big C, Live Your Life and Still Be Yourself.

In May 2022, Dame Deborah began a collaboration with In The Style, who launched a clothing line called Rebellious Hope, with all proceeds going to Cancer Research UK.

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For her tireless work raising awareness of colon cancer, James was made a dame of her home by the Duke of Cambridge weeks before her death.

Deborah James receives her damehood from Prince William: Credit Instagram @bowellbabe

Deborah’s relationships

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As stated in a social media post, Deborah died with her family by her side.

Deborah spent her final months with her parents, Alistair and Heather James, at their home in Woking.

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She married Sebastien Bowen in 2008, with whom she had two children, Hugo (14) and Eloise (12).

Deborah’s illness

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Dame Deborah was diagnosed with colon cancer in 2016 – a disease that affects 1 in 15 men and 1 in 18 women.

The 40-year-old cancer activist, known by her social media name as Bowelbabe, shared photos and videos documenting her dancing during treatment.

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In June 2021, Dame Deborah said her cancer was “heading in the wrong direction” and that the drugs she had been relying on had become less effective after numerous treatments.

The late Dame Deborah James with her husband Sebastien Bowen.

After battling the disease for six years, Bowelbabe released an update on her illness in early May, announcing that she had stopped active treatment and was receiving palliative care at her parents’ home in Woking.

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Dame Deborah was cared for at the end of her life with her husband Sebastien and their two children by her side before she passed away on June 28th.

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