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Eamonn Holmes shares final memory of Dame Deborah James after podcaster passes away from bowel cancer


Eamonn Holmes with Ruth Langsford and Dame Deborah James Credit: Holmes Instagram

Eamonn Holmes with Ruth Langsford and Dame Deborah James Credit: Holmes Instagram

Eamonn Holmes with Ruth Langsford and Dame Deborah James Credit: Holmes Instagram

Belfast broadcaster Eamonn Holmes has shared a poignant photo of himself with Dame Deborah James after it was announced the podcaster passed away on Tuesday.

Sharing the moment at Ascot around two weeks ago, the 62-year-old can be seen alongside Dame Deborah and his wife Ruth Langsford.

The photo shows Dame Deborah chatting to the Loose Women presenter in her wheelchair, wearing a polka dot dress and straw hat.

"Bye Dame Deborah. This was just 2 weeks ago at Ascot.

"She told us then that she had been given just a week to live and had already out lasted that by 2 weeks. May you #RestinPeace,” Holmes wrote.

The presenter of the podcast 'You, Me and the Big C', Dame Deborah died after spending her final weeks receiving end-of-life care at home with her husband, Sebastien, and their two children.

She had been diagnosed with bowel cancer in 2016.

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The Prime Minister was among those paying tribute, and wrote on Twitter: "I'm terribly saddened to hear that Dame Deborah James has died. What an inspiration she was to so many.

"The awareness she brought to bowel cancer and the research her campaigning has funded will be her enduring legacy.

"Because of her, many many lives will be saved."

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer said news of her death was "deeply sad".

He added: "Dame Deborah James' charity work was truly inspirational - even in the most challenging moments, she continued to raise awareness about bowel cancer and impacted so many people's lives.

"Our thoughts are with her family and friends at this difficult time."

Secretary of State for Health and Social Care Sajid Javid said she "leaves behind an incredible legacy".

He tweeted: "RIP Dame Deborah. Her exceptional campaign to help those living with cancer won the whole nation's admiration, and started important conversations about living with the 'big C'.

"She leaves behind an incredible legacy, and my thoughts are with her loved ones."

In her final weeks, Dame Deborah raised millions of pounds for research and was made a dame for her "tireless" work improving awareness of the disease.

She revealed in early May that she had stopped active treatment and was receiving end-of-life care at her parents' home in Woking.

A statement posted by her family on Instagram said: "We are deeply saddened to announce the death of Dame Deborah James; the most amazing wife, daughter, sister, mummy. Deborah passed away peacefully today, surrounded by her family.

"Deborah, who many of you will know as Bowelbabe, was an inspiration and we are incredibly proud of her and her work and commitment to charitable campaigning, fundraising and her endless efforts to raise awareness of cancer that touched so many lives.

"Deborah shared her experience with the world to raise awareness, break down barriers, challenge taboos and change the conversation around cancer.

"Even in her most challenging moments, her determination to raise money and awareness was inspiring.

"We thank you for giving us time in private as a family, and we look forward to continuing Deborah's legacy long into the future through the @bowelbabefund. Thank you for playing your part in her journey, you are all incredible.

"And a few final things from Deborah...'find a life worth enjoying; take risks; love deeply; have no regrets; and always, always have rebellious hope. And finally, check your poo - it could just save your life.'”

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