has been honoured with a Damehood after £4million for charity since Monday as she revealed she was receiving end-of-life care.
The Queen led praise for the 40-year-old BBC podcaster, saying she was ‘pleased’ to approve the damehood, while the Prime Minister said ‘if ever an honour was richly deserved, this is it’.
The former headteacher was diagnosed with bowel cancer in 2016 and has kept her more than 500,000 Instagram followers up to date with her treatments.She has now raised more than £3.8 million with her for Cancer Research UK.
On Thursday night, Number 10 confirmed that James is to be made a dame, saying: ‘The Queen has been pleased to approve that the honour of damehood be conferred upon Deborah James.’
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said: ‘If ever an honour was richly deserved, this is it.Deborah has been an inspiration and her honesty, warmth and courage has been a source of strength to so many people.
‘Through her tireless campaigning and by so openly sharing her experience she has not only helped in our fight against this terrible disease, she has ensured countless others with the Big C have not felt alone.
‘I hope this recognition from Her Majesty – backed I’m sure by the whole country – will provide some comfort to Deborah and her family at this difficult time.My thoughts are with them and Deborah should know she has the country’s love and gratitude.’
Deborah James has been honoured with a Damehood after raising £3.8million for charity since Monday as she revealed she was receiving end-of-life care
Deborah James has written letters and bought gifts for her children Hugo, 14, and daughter, Eloise, 12, and wants to cuddle them for the last time before she dies
On Thursday night, Number 10 confirmed that James is to be made a dame, saying: ‘The Queen has been pleased to approve that the honour of damehood be conferred upon Deborah James.’ Pictured, Deborah James (left) with her family on Mother’s Day this year
Deborah James explained how she’d had ‘hard conversations’ with the children, donat but put her full faith in husband Sebastien Bowen – a London banker with whom she has been married more than 13 years.She has urged him to find love again as long as it’s not a ‘bimbo’
Deborah James (pictured), 40, announced earlier this week in a heartbreaking message that active treatment for her bowel cancer was stopping and that she was moving to hospice at home care
The nation has been moved by her tragic story in recent days, with at least £1million in donations now being made every day made on the Bowelbabe Fund for Cancer Research UK page she set up.Today it surpassed £3.8 million (pictured)
She has now revealed her shock at being made a Dame, telling : ‘I don’t know what to say.I’m blown away and feel incredibly honoured. I don’t feel like I deserve this. I can’t tell you what this means to my family, it’s so much to take in.’
Ms James said that she would love for the fundraiser to reach £5 million by the weekend.
Dame Deborah’s children Hugo and Eloise said they were ‘speechless’ and ‘so, so proud’, while husband Seb said a damehood was ‘something that she would never have dreamt of but it is so truly deserved’.
Damehoods and knighthoods are usually listed in the New Year or Queen’s Birthday Honours, but in exceptional circumstances some are announced at other times.
The teacher-turned-podcaster has moved millions as she announced in a heartbreaking message that active treatment for her bowel cancer was stopping and that she was moving to hospice at home care to die.
The mother-of two is preparing to spend her final hours on her parents’ lawn surrounded by family, drinking Champagne, having been told by her hospice nurses: ‘You are dying, you can drink what you like.’
In a tearful final newspaper interview she said last night: ‘The one thing my family know is I am petrified of being alone.I don’t want to die alone.’ And when asked about the end of her life approaching she said: ‘I have moments when I just sob uncontrollably, but I can’t spend my last few days crying, it would be such a waste. So I’m trying to compartmentalise my death’.
She said she has started her ‘to-do death list’ to support son Hugo, 14, and daughter, Eloise, 12, when she is gone, and has urged her husband Sebastien to find love, with the caveat: ‘Don’t be taken for a ride, don’t marry a bimbo’.
Dame Deborah said she has written letters for her children to help them with their first dates and wedding days, and will buy Hugo ‘a nice pen or wallet or cufflinks’ and Eloise ‘Tiffany bracelets and earrings’ to remember her – as well as some presents and postcards from her for the future.
Her funeral is also planned where she will be cremated, but she hopes her ashes will be kept in the family kitchen ‘for a while’ before being scattered.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge also paid tribute to the cancer-stricken podcaster, declaring that she has ‘captured the heart of the nation’, after her fundraiser passed £3.3million yesterday and continues to rise at a rate of £1million every 24 hours.
Steve Bland, co-host of the You, Me And The Big C podcast alongside Deborah James, praised the bowel cancer campaigner after her research fundraising initiative reached £4 million.
Appearing on BBC Breakfast, he said: ‘It is amazing, but this is what Deborah does.Deborah deals in the extraordinary. This is what she has done for five years.
‘Everyone is focusing on the last five days, but actually Deb has been doing this for five years, ever since she was diagnosed with incurable cancer five years ago, and since then she has just been trying to help people.
‘She has been banging the drum over and over and over and over – on bowel cancer symptoms, working hard to get drugs approved that she knew would help her but help loads of other people too.
‘While the last five days have been amazing – the £4 million is incredible – there are people all over the country walking around enjoying their children’s birthday parties because she has basically saved their lives.’
Bland said James had messaged him to say she would be watching the interview from her parents’ home in Woking, Surrey, where she is receiving end-of-life care.
He added: ‘I don’t know what target she will have in her mind now.Five, I guess.’
In the heartbreaking interview with The Times, Deborah also revealed how she will record letters for her children to open after she’s died, including advice for them on how to act on a first date or what to do on their wedding day.
Ms James said she’s been in hospital for months, but since undergoing hospice care, she has been planning her last hours on the lawn with her family and drinking champagne, as staff joked with her: ‘You are dying, you can drink what you like.’
The nation has been moved by her tragic story in recent days, with at least £1million in donations now being made every day to her Bowelbabe Fund for Cancer Research UK page, which she set up.
Ms James earlier spoke of wanting to die at her parents’ house in Woking, to spare son, Hugo, 14, and daughter, Eloise, 12, from constant reminders in their home, which she won’t visit again because of the stairs.She said: ‘I can’t use my legs any more and I’m incredibly weak… my husband must lift me for everything’.
She explained how she’d had to break the news to the children, but put her full faith in husband Sebastien Bowen – a London banker she married back in 2008.
The couple briefly split up seven years later and began divorce proceedings, but soon got back together after agreeing to counselling to be on better terms for their children.
Speaking to she revealed she has issued him with ‘strict instructions’ to her ‘incredible’ husband Sebastien Bowen to find love again after her death.
‘It’s been hideous telling my children. My husband Sebastien has been incredible, he has dropped everything and is with me 24/7.My first thought was [that] I don’t want my children to see me like this. I didn’t think I would be able to speak to them without crying, but I’d love one last cuddle with them.
‘We have had a string of emotional conversations that have escalated very quickly from supportive care to end-of-life care.
‘My husband Sebastien has been incredible, he has dropped everything and is with me 24/7.
‘My first thought was [that] I don’t want my children to see me like this.I didn’t think I would be able to speak to them without crying, but I’d love one last cuddle with them.’
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have paid tribute to cancer-stricken BBC podcaster Deborah James, after her fundraiser passed £3 million yesterday
In a tweet, William and Kate said: ‘Every now and then, someone captures the heart of the nation with their zest for life & tenacious desire to give back to society.’ Pictured, the couple during their visit to Glasgow, Scotland, on May 11
On Monday, Miss James, announced that despite having 17 tumours removed and undergoing new procedures she has been moved to hospice care because her ‘body simply isn’t playing ball’.
<div class="art-ins mol-factbox news halfRHS" data-version="2" id="mol-643a6f80-d1c0-11ec-9595-374f7b29e3e7" website says she is 'pleased' to award Damehood to Deborah James