Mourners arrive for funeral of Dame Deborah James

·2-min read

Mourners including Lorraine Kelly and Gaby Roslin have begun arriving for the funeral of Dame Deborah James in London.

The podcast host and mother-of-two, who became known as Bowelbabe, her social media handle, died last month aged 40 after being diagnosed with bowel cancer in 2016.

Close friends and family arrived at St Mary’s Church in Barnes, west London, ahead of the service on Wednesday afternoon.

Deborah James funeral
Lorraine Kelly arrives at St Mary’s Church in Barnes (Aaron Chown/PA)

TV presenters Kelly and Roslin, who were both friends of Dame Deborah, filed into the church alongside family members carrying a wreath of white flowers.

A note attached to the flowers said: “Deborah, thank you to our extraordinary friend. You together with Seb, Eloise and Hugo are such an important part of our family, we will love and miss you forever.”

A mourner carried sheet music for the song Tell Me It’s Not True from the musical Blood Brothers, along with an order of service with a picture of Dame Deborah.

A mourner carries a copy of the order of service
A mourner carries a copy of the order of service (Aaron Chown/PA)

McFly star Tom Fletcher and his podcaster wife Giovanna were pictured holding hands as they arrived.

The church bells chimed at 12.30pm ahead of the intimate service, which is set to begin at 1pm with readings and music from relatives.

Dame Deborah, a former deputy headteacher, was diagnosed with bowel cancer in 2016 and subsequently kept her nearly one million Instagram followers up to date with her treatments.

Her candid posts about her progress and diagnosis, including videos of her dancing her way through treatment, won praise from the public and media alike.

Dame Deborah revealed in early May that she had stopped active treatment and was seeing out her final days at her parents’ home in Woking, Surrey.

She received end-of-life care with her husband, Sebastien, and their two children, 14-year-old son Hugo and 12-year-old daughter Eloise, by her side,

Deborah James funeral
Gaby Roslin was among the mourners (Aaron Chown/PA)

In her final months, the presenter of the BBC podcast You, Me And The Big C raised almost £7 million for cancer research, with the amount climbing further following her death.

She was made a dame for her “tireless” work improving awareness of the disease, with the honour conferred by the Duke of Cambridge, who joined her family for afternoon tea and champagne at home.

Her death was announced on June 28 with a message saying she had died peacefully, surrounded by her family.

William and Kate, charities, celebrities and many whose lives have been affected by cancer shared tributes.

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