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Lauren Mahon still talks to late Dame Deborah James ‘in my mind’

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Dame Deborah James’ co-host of the popular cancer podcast You, Me and the Big C, Lauren Mahon has said she still talks to her friend even after her death.

The 37-year-old activist opened up about continuing to grieve James after her funeral took place last Wednesday (20 July).

Mahon, who used to host the podcast with James, who died in June due to bowel cancer, and Rachael Bland, who died in September 2018 due to breast cancer, appeared on Good Morning Britain on Monday (25 July).

She said in the interview that it is “very unique to grieve someone who’s public”.

“It is very strange being here, last time I was here, she was watching,” she said.

“So it’s very strange not being able to turn to her and be like, ‘Oh my god, this happened’. Or, ‘You’ll never guess what’. But I still tell her, in my little mind.”

Good Morning Britain host Charlotte Hawkins responded: “She’s watching over you.”

You, Me and the Big C was honoured at the British Podcast Awards over the weekend and Mahon paid tribute to James and Bland during the event.

Accepting the top prize for the podcast awards, Mahon said in her speech: “Me and Deb had a little joke when Rachael died that I couldn’t just do the podcast by myself because I couldn’t call it Me, Me and the Big C.

“The podcast is our happy place. It’s a bit surreal to be standing here without both my girls. We knew this was a risk, that some of us would die when we started it, but we wanted to continue to champion it.

“There’ is more work to be done. I don’t know what it looks like, but the podcast has always been a service.”

Dame Deborah James, with her husband Sebastien Bowen (The Harkness Rose Company/PA) (PA Media)
Dame Deborah James, with her husband Sebastien Bowen (The Harkness Rose Company/PA) (PA Media)

She continued: “Last time we won at these awards, we dedicated the award to Rachael. I’m so proud to say that this is for Dame Deborah f***ing James.”

James passed away on Tuesday 28 June, six years after she was diagnosed with Stage 4 bowel cancer.

She announced in May that she had been moved to hospice-at-home care. In her final weeks, she was awarded a damehood for her activism, which was presented to her by the Duke of Cambridge in her home.

The former head teacher and mother-of-two also launched her Bowelbabe fund for Cancer Research UK in the months leading up to her death.

To date, the fund has collected more than £7m in donations, far surpassing her initial goal of £250,000.

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