Deborah James leaves home to see namesake rose at Chelsea Flower Show
Dame Deborah James has made a rare trip out to the Chelsea Flower Show to see the rose that has been named after her.
The podcast host and cancer campaigner – who has moved to hospice care after battling bowel cancer since 2016 – has had a bloom named in her honour by World of Roses and the Harkness Rose Company.
Sharing the news last week, she told her fans she hoped that one day her daughter Eloise, 12, might have some of the flowers in her wedding bouquet.
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While she is mainly remaining at home, the star has now visited the Dame Deborah James Rose with her husband Sebastien, in a visit organised by BBC presenter Sophie Raworth and the Royal Horticultural Society.
She told the BBC: “Flowers are a reminder of our future. We plant the seed not knowing what we might see grow.
“Being around nature gives us a lift and it is a reminder that life continues to blossom, even in some of the hardest places, and brings a smile to all of our faces, even in the hardest of times – particularly mine.”
Dame Deborah is also seen in a short video shared by the BBC, which shows her saying it was "amazing" as she marked the moment with some champagne.
The star said she was in tears when she found out about the flower, which “produces masses of white blooms with a subtle 'ballet slipper pink' centre”.
“What breaks my heart and brings me the most beautiful thought, is that this variety will and can now be grown forever, and maybe one day even Eloise might choose to have it in her wedding bouquet,” she wrote on Instagram.
Dame Deborah – who is also mum to son Hugo, 14 - was one of the hosts of the You, Me & The Big C podcast, which she presented with Lauren Mahon and Rachael Bland, who died in 2018 at the age of 40 after battling breast cancer.
She told her fans earlier this month that her body wasn’t “playing ball”.
“My active care has stopped and I am now moved to hospice at home care, with my incredible family all around me and the focus is on making sure I’m not in pain and spending time with them,” she said.
During her final podcast, Dame Deborah said she had gone home to her mum and dad's house as it was where she had always wanted to die.
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She has set up the Bowel Babe fund in her name, which will support cancer charities and to date has raised more than £6.5 million.
Earlier this month she was honoured with a damehood, and told her fans that she felt “humbled and blown away”.
Additional reporting by PA.
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