Deborah James 'humbled and blown away' after being made a dame

Deborah James has raised millions for cancer organisations. (PA)
Deborah James has raised millions for cancer organisations. (PA)

Deborah James has said she feels “humbled and blown away” after being honoured with a damehood.

The cancer campaigner – one of the hosts of podcast You, Me And The Big C - has raised more than £4 million for charity in the last few days, after penning a moving goodbye message as she told fans she had moved to hospice care.

She has now returned to Instagram to tell of her shock after Downing Street confirmed she was being made a dame.

Read more: Lorraine pays tribute to cancer campaigner Deborah James who is in hospice care

“I don’t even know where to start with the overwhelming tears getting in the way,” said Dame Deborah, who was diagnosed with bowel cancer in 2016.

“I’m humbled and blown away that 5 years of talking about poo can lead to a Damehood!

“I feel honoured and shocked that I even got considered.”

The 40-year-old has set up a new fund in her name which will support Cancer Research UK, The Institute of Cancer Research (ICR), The Royal Marsden Hospital and promoting cancer awareness among younger people.

“These last four days of your unwaving (sic) support launching the @bowelbabefund to benefit @cr_uk, @royalmarsden and @bowelcanceruk seem like a wirl wind (sic) of surreal dreaming when each day I can’t fathom the kindness and generosity,” she said.

“£4 Million!!! I can simply only give thanks for the wonderful people in the world and say the most heartfelt thank you for your unconditional support not just now but over the years.”

(left to right) Lauren Mahon, (unknown), Shareefa J, Anna Harding, Nimco Ali, Andrea McLean and Deborah James pose for a photograph after running the Vitality London 10000 in their underwear to promote body confidence.
Deborah James (far right) after running the Vitality London 10,000 race in her underwear to promote body confidence in 2019. (PA)

Dame Deborah, who has two children, said as she was “getting more and more sleepy and finding life a little harder” she’s had “more time to think that I’ve never stopped to realise the impact that our podcasting, and talking, and campaigning has had over five years”.

“Small chats really can save lives, small conversations can create ripples far beyond where we might see them, and seeds might grow where we’re never see their fruits,” she said.

“And there is something exciting and beautiful in that cycle of life. With this money hopefully more people will have more time with their loved ones: who knows what plants we might grow, but when done with hope we pray that some blossom into game changers for our kids, and many more to come.”

Deborah James, Steve Bland and Lauren Mahon attending the British Podcast Awards, at King's Place in London. Picture date: Saturday May 18, 2019. Photo credit should read: Matt Crossick/Empics
Deborah James with podcast co-host Lauren Mahon and Steve Bland, who was married to the podcast's third host Rachael Bland. (Matt Crossick/Empics)

She signed off: “Keep loving in kindness, with rebellious hope always.”

Dame Deborah told her fans on Instagram this week that her body wasn’t “playing ball”.

“My active care has stopped and I am now moved to hospice at home care, with my incredible family all around me and the focus is on making sure I’m not in pain and spending time with them,” she said.

During her final podcast she said she had gone home to her mum and dad's house as it was where she had always wanted to die.

L-R: Rachael Bland, Lauren Mahon, Deborah James, presenters of <i>You, Me & the Big C</i>. (BBC/Claire Wood)
Deborah James started the podcast with Rachael Bland and Lauren Mahon. (BBC/Claire Wood)

Deborah launched the BBC Radio 5 podcast in 2018 with fellow cancer patients Lauren Mahon and Rachael Bland.

Read more: Julia Bradbury opens up on emotional breast cancer journey in documentary

Bland died aged 40 in 2018 after battling breast cancer.

Watch: Deborah James gives blessing for husband to re-marry