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Mum of Dame Deborah James thanks Bowelbabe fundraisers: “I just wish she was here to see it”

Heather James, the mother of the late Dame Deborah James.
Heather James, the mother of the late Dame Deborah James.

Heather James, the mother of the late Dame Deborah James, joined host Ranvir Singh and Dr Hilary on today’s Lorraine to celebrate her daughter’s Bowelbabe Fund, which has now raised £11.3 million for Cancer Research UK. 

Discussing the life-changing amount of money, Dame Deborah’s mum explained:

“She set a target of £250,000 and I think within a day, it had hit one million pounds and she was just overwhelmed - as we all were. I just wish she was here to see it was £11.3 million but we’re not going to stop there, we’re going to make it even bigger!”

Heather continued: “Besides the money, that’s amazing, I just want to thank every supporter. There were over 330,000 individual supporters to raise that and to me, that is overwhelming, the amount of people she touched… and it’s a big thank you to them as well”. 

Dan Burkwood from Cancer Research UK also spoke to Ranvir during the show and said:

“£11.3 million is such a significant amount of money and again, the number of people that have supported this campaign just shows how many people [Deborah] inspired and touched. We really hope we can do some amazing work with this, have an impact and help the Deborahs of the future, which is what we all know she really wanted.” 

Opening up back in the studio, Heather said:

“All the family, we all have our little niche in what we do but the family are into what Deborah wanted… You know, her son and daughter and family are hoping that we can continue the legacy that Deborah left.” 

On how life has been since losing her daughter and if she’s had a chance to grieve, Heather reflected:

“Perhaps I love the ‘go, go, go’. Deborah was always ‘go, go, go’ and full of energy. I think her legacy is going to be ‘go, go, go’. 

“Grieving, if I have too much time on my hands, you do think, ‘This is real, she’s not here anymore’ but she’s in our lives so much in everything that she’s left behind, I will keep campaigning and if we can do that for Deborah’s legacy, then that’s great… 

“But grieving wise, it’s more hard now that reality has set in. It’s sad. You get numb when it first happens, then you go through, ‘Is this real?’ and now it’s hit the stage, ‘This is real’.” 

Dr Hilary remembered his friend and colleague by sharing:

“She’s saved countless lives already and because she made it ok to talk about those difficult things, that some people would find otherwise embarrassing, of course, her legacy will be forever.” 

Closing the interview, Heather said: “A big thank you to all the supporters that have helped us raise so far £11.3m and let’s keep going to save more lives!” 

Lorraine’s No Butts campaign to raise awareness of bowel cancer, which Dame Deborah helped launch originally, will return on Monday 17th April. 

To watch the interview and show in full visit

Lorraine airs weekdays at 9am on ITV1 & ITVX

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