Deborah James thanks Prince William for visit as cancer fund raises £5.7m


Deborah James has thanked the Duke of Cambridge for “going above and beyond” to present her with her damehood after he visited her home on Friday.

It comes as her Bowel Babe Fund for Cancer Research UK, which was launched just four days ago, has raised £5.7 million.

In a post on Instagram posted on Saturday, James said she has had “the most surreal, mind-blowing, humbling five days of my life”.

She added: “I cannot thank you for your generosity at launching the Bowel Babe Fund which now stands at £5.7 million, and to Prince William for going above and beyond to make a very special memory happen yesterday.”

The prince presented the You, Me and the Big C podcast host with a damehood at her family home and took photographs with her family to mark the occasion.

James, who was first diagnosed with Stage 4 bowel cancer in 2016, announced on Monday that she had been moved to hospice-at-home care, telling her followers on social media: “The time has come to say goodbye.”

The cancer campaigner, who is a patron of Bowel Cancer UK, launched her fund to raise money “for further life-saving research into cancer”.

She wrote on Instagram: “Nobody knows how long I’ve got left but I’m not able to walk, I’m sleeping most of the days, and most things I took for granted are pipe dreams.”

Although damehoods are usually handed out at investiture ceremonies that take place at royal palaces, an exception was made for James.

In a personal tweet written by William and Kate earlier this week, they said: “Every now and then, someone captures the heart of the nation with their zest for life and tenacious desire to give back to society.

“@bowelbabe is one of those special people. Her tireless efforts to raise awareness of bowel cancer and end the stigma of treatment are inspiring.

“We are so sad to hear her recent update but pleased to support the Bowel Babe Fund, which will benefit the Royal Marsden Hospital among others.”

The royal couple added: “Deborah, our thoughts are with you, your family and your friends. Thank you for giving hope to so many who are living with cancer. W & C.”

James wrote in her most recent Instagram post that she “may be getting weaker and more tired… having to run off pure adrenaline”, but added: “I always said I wanted to slide in sideways when my time is up, with a massive smile, no regrets and a big glass of champagne”.

“Still my intention!!!,” she added.