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Celeb ZoneDame Deborah James' parents raise a glass in her honour

Dame Deborah James’ parents raise a glass in her honour

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The parents of Dame Deborah James, who passed away last week from bowel cancer aged just 40, have asked the nation to raise a glass in memory of their daughter as they toasted her memory.

Heather and Alistair James visited a garden festival at Hampton Court Palace in Surrey on Monday, where they inspected a special kind of rose sold by the Harkness Rose Company named after their late daughter. 

Each rose was on sale for £2.50 with proceeds going to the Bowelbabe Fund – a charity fundraising initiative set up by the late dame which has raised millions to fund cancer research.

‘Today we raised a glass to Dame Debs at Hampton Court Flower Show,’ a social media post from the rose company read, accompanied by a picture of the dame’s parents clinking glasses.

It comes after Heather last week shared an image to her Instagram story asking her followers to raise a glass in earnest as she shared another glass of wine with Alistair in memory of their daughter.

Dame Deborah, known as Bowelbabe, died on Tuesday, June 28 eight years on from being diagnosed with bowel cancer.

Heather and Alistair James visited a garden festival at Hampton Court Palace in Surrey on Monday, where they inspected a special kind of rose sold by the Harkness Rose Company named after their late daughter

Heather and Alistair James visited a garden festival at Hampton Court Palace in Surrey on Monday, where they inspected a special kind of rose sold by the Harkness Rose Company named after their late daughter

Heather and Alistair James visited a garden festival at Hampton Court Palace in Surrey on Monday, where they inspected a special kind of rose sold by the Harkness Rose Company named after their late daughter

Heather last week shared an image to her Instagram story asking her followers to raise a glass in earnest as she shared another glass of wine with Alistair in memory of their daughter

Heather last week shared an image to her Instagram story asking her followers to raise a glass in earnest as she shared another glass of wine with Alistair in memory of their daughter

Heather last week shared an image to her Instagram story asking her followers to raise a glass in earnest as she shared another glass of wine with Alistair in memory of their daughter 

Dame Deborah, known as Bowelbabe, died on Tuesday, June 28 eight years on from being diagnosed with bowel cancer

Dame Deborah, known as Bowelbabe, died on Tuesday, June 28 eight years on from being diagnosed with bowel cancer

Dame Deborah, known as Bowelbabe, died on Tuesday, June 28 eight years on from being diagnosed with bowel cancer

On May 9, the mother-of-two shared a heartbreaking 'goodbye' message to her 470,000 Instagram followers

On May 9, the mother-of-two shared a heartbreaking 'goodbye' message to her 470,000 Instagram followers

On May 9, the mother-of-two shared a heartbreaking ‘goodbye’ message to her 470,000 Instagram followers, revealing she was being moved into hospice-at-home care, while ‘surrounded by family’, because ‘my body simply isn’t playing ball’

Dame Deborah James has raised more than £7 million for cancer research

Dame Deborah James has raised more than £7 million for cancer research

Dame Deborah James has raised more than £7 million for cancer research

The campaigner’s closest friends led emotional tributes to her a short documentary entitled Dame Deborah James: The Last Dance, which followed her throughout her final years with terminal cancer.

Cancer activist Lauren Mahon, 37, who presented BBC podcast You, Me and the Big C with Dame Deborah and their late friend Rachael Bland, broke down as she said: ‘I just love her so much’. 

Bland died in September 2018 aged 40 after treatment for breast cancer, and her widower Steve became a regular on the show. 

TV presenter Lorraine Kelly, who supported Dame Deborah’s cancer awareness campaigns, called her late friend a ‘smasher’ and said she would always ‘bounce back,’ which is what made her death so ‘difficult’ to accept.  

Kelly also raised her glass to Dame Deborah at the start of her show last week and admitted she still has not ‘processed’ her friend’s death. 

Presenter Lorraine joinedRia Hebden to raise a glass of fizz at the start of her show this morning and admitted she still has not 'processed' her friend's death

Presenter Lorraine joinedRia Hebden to raise a glass of fizz at the start of her show this morning and admitted she still has not 'processed' her friend's death

Presenter Lorraine joinedRia Hebden to raise a glass of fizz at the start of her show this morning and admitted she still has not ‘processed’ her friend’s death 

Viewers were left overcome with tears as they watched the documentary, with one person saying: ‘Heart-breaking watch and a beautiful tribute to a beautiful person. Will miss her.’ 

‘Just watched Dame Deborah James: The Last Dance. I’m sobbing. She was such an amazing person. What an inspiration. Life can be so cruel,’ another individual wrote on Twitter.

Dame Deborah launched the Bowelbabe Fund in early May after announcing she had stopped active treatment and was receiving end-of-life care.

She initially hoped to raise £250,000 for the charity, which funds clinical trials and research into personalised medicine as well as campaigns to raise awareness.

But donations surpassed the £7million mark last Wednesday a day after the dame passed away.

Deborah passed away last week following a five-year-long battle with bowel cancer. Her mother said she was 'heart-broken'

Deborah passed away last week following a five-year-long battle with bowel cancer. Her mother said she was 'heart-broken'

Deborah passed away last week following a five-year-long battle with bowel cancer. Her mother said she was ‘heart-broken’ 

The 30-minute programme also included her reaction to her Bowel Babe fundraising page reaching £1million (above)

The 30-minute programme also included her reaction to her Bowel Babe fundraising page reaching £1million (above)

The 30-minute programme also included her reaction to her Bowel Babe fundraising page reaching £1million (above)

A frail Dame Deborah is pictured having her hair brushed by her father days before her death

A frail Dame Deborah is pictured having her hair brushed by her father days before her death

A frail Dame Deborah is pictured having her hair brushed by her father days before her death

The BBC 's heart-breaking documentary in tribute to Dame Deborah James has left viewers 'sobbing' after showing emotional family moments - including her dancing with her son (pictured) and reacting with delight as her fundraising page hit £1million

The BBC 's heart-breaking documentary in tribute to Dame Deborah James has left viewers 'sobbing' after showing emotional family moments - including her dancing with her son (pictured) and reacting with delight as her fundraising page hit £1million

The BBC ‘s heart-breaking documentary in tribute to Dame Deborah James has left viewers ‘sobbing’ after showing emotional family moments – including her dancing with her son (pictured) and reacting with delight as her fundraising page hit £1million

Michelle Mitchell, the charity’s chief executive, told BBC Breakfast: ‘Deborah was such an inspirational figure to so many.

‘She believed powerfully in science as a route to improving the prevention and diagnosis and treatment of cancer.

‘But she also believed in raising awareness and tackling the taboos around bowel cancer.’

Ms Mitchell said she had been moved by Dame Deborah’s ‘commitment, her inspiration, her compassion and her humour’.

She added: ‘It is a fitting legacy and tribute to her that the British public have donated so generously to the Bowelbabe Fund to ensure that we continue to raise awareness, to look for new tests and treatments, to ensure that we improve cancer survival in this country.’

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