Dame Deborah James' Family And Friends Bid Farewell To Cancer Campaigner As Her Funeral Takes Place

·2-min read
Dame Deborah James pictured at Royal Ascot last month (Photo: David M. Benett via Getty Images)
Dame Deborah James pictured at Royal Ascot last month (Photo: David M. Benett via Getty Images)

Dame Deborah James pictured at Royal Ascot last month (Photo: David M. Benett via Getty Images)

Dame Deborah James’ family and friends said farewell to her during an intimate funeral service on Wednesday.

The cancer campaigner and podcast host, known to her one million online followers as Bowelbabe, died last month from bowel cancer at the age of 40.

Tom and Giovanna Fletcher, Sophie Raworth, Lorraine Kelly and Gaby Roslin were among the attendees at the service, which was held at St Mary’s Church in Barnes, west London.

Dame Deborah’s coffin arrived in a vintage Rolls-Royce hearse with more than a dozen members of her family walking in procession behind.

Her coffin was adorned with the rose that was named after her, which went on display at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show earlier this year.

The funeral procession for Dame Deborah James arrives at St Mary's Church in Barnes, west London (Photo: Dominic Lipinski via PA Wire/PA Images)
The funeral procession for Dame Deborah James arrives at St Mary's Church in Barnes, west London (Photo: Dominic Lipinski via PA Wire/PA Images)

The funeral procession for Dame Deborah James arrives at St Mary's Church in Barnes, west London (Photo: Dominic Lipinski via PA Wire/PA Images)

During the service, Dame Deborah’s husband Sebastien delivered a eulogy while their children Hugo and Eloise both read poems, according to the PA news agency.

Family friend and classically-trained jazz singer Natalie Rushdie sang Tell Me It’s Not True from the musical Blood Brothers, while cellist Charles Watt played music from Gabriel Faure.

Sarah Mountford, another family friend, also read an extract from Ecclesiastes.

After the service, the family left the church for a private wake.

Deborah, a former headteacher, was known for fronting the podcast You, Me And The Big C, which she co-founded with Lauren Mahon and the late Rachael Bland.

She was awarded a Damehood by the Duke of Cambridge at her home for her “tireless campaigning” efforts in May, after raising millions of pounds for cancer charities.

The campaigner spent years increasing awareness of bowel cancer and raised more than £6.7 million for Cancer Research UK, Bowel Cancer UK and the Royal Marsden Cancer Charity through her Bowelbabe fund on JustGiving.

In May, she revealed she was receiving end of life care at her parents’ home in Woking.

Deborah died on 28 June surrounded by her family, who later shared a final message to her followers from her.

They said in a statement announcing her death: “A few final things from Deborah…’find a life worth enjoying; take risks; love deeply; have no regrets; and always, always have rebellious hope. And finally, check your poo – it could just save your life’.”

This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.

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