DAME Deborah James’ funeral was “full of laughs and tears”, Lorraine Kelly said.
The morning ITV host praised the mum-of-two’s “incredible” children for reading tributes at the ceremony, which was yesterday.
Dame Debs passed away at the age of 40 on June 28, 2022, after living with incurable bowel cancer for five years.
The Sun writer became a national treasure after channelling her energy into saving the lives of others, by raising awareness of bowel cancer symptoms.
Speaking of Dame Debs' funeral, presenter Lorraine, 62, said: “There were a lot of tears and there really was genuinely a lot of laughs too, so it was great.
"She planned it all and it was perfection, as you would expect.
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My friend Dame Deborah James would’ve loved every minute of her send-off
“I was honoured to be there with some of our team.
“It was a beautiful, beautiful send off. It was so lovely. It was sad, but it was also a celebration of an amazing, amazing woman.”
Lorraine was one of the hundreds of guests at Debs’ send-off at St Mary’s church in Barnes, South West London.
TV star Gaby Roslin, 58, McFly singer Tom Fletcher and wife Giovanna, both 37, also joined the congregation.
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But the most important guests were Debs’ children, Hugo, 14, and Eloise, 12, who led her funeral procession with their dad and Debs’ husband, Sebastien.
Lorraine, who said Debs will “never be forgotten”, said: “Hugo wrote a poem for his mum, and read it out. And Elouise did a reading. Her husband said the most beautiful eulogy.
“It was lovely. It was sad, but it was also very, very uplifting.
“Her legacy is astonishing, with what she's done to raise awareness.
“But our legacy is also our children, and they are Wow. They are incredible, incredible young people. They really are.
“In the final weeks and months of her life she did so much. She got a rose, she was made a dame of course – Prince William went to her house.
“She achieved more in the last days of her life than most of us achieve in our whole lives.”
Dr Hillary Jones described Deb as “unique and extraordinary”.
He said: “Whilst her life was cruelly curtailed at 40, she crammed so much into that life.
“She crammed it with verve, with energy, with love, with passion. With so many wonderful things. And that’s why we celebrate her life, and her legacy which lives on.
“She raised £7.4million, she’s saved lives and she'll continue to save lives as a result of that
“Her lovely family will remember her for that.”
Deborah’s coffin arrived in a 1936 Rolls-Royce hearse and a private wake was held at the Olympic Studios cafe in Barnes.
The funeral was adorned with the white roses that were named in her honour before her death.
For each Dame Deborah James rose sold, £2.50 is donated to the BowelBabe fund, launched by Debs in her finally days.
It has already raised £7.4million for cancer charities on top of the millions made from sales of T-shirts, bags and an In The Style clothing range.
Know the symptoms
Lorraine and Dr Hilary went over the symptoms of bowel cancer – just as Debs would have wanted.
Dr Hilary said: “This is not an uncommon cancer, even at a young age, which Deborah proved.
“Forty-three thousand new cases are diagnosed every year and 16,000 people lose their lives, but 40 to 50 per cent are preventable.
“So the earlier you get it diagnosed, the much greater chance of getting cured, not just treated but cured. And so go and get it checked if you get any of those symptoms.”
Lorraine said no other woman would look “glamorous” dressed as a poo – which Debs often did to raise awareness of bowel cancer symptoms.
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The symptoms are:
- Bleeding from the back passage, or blood in your poo
- A change in your normal toilet habits – going more frequently for example
- Pain or a lump in your tummy
- Extreme tiredness
- Losing weight
Other signs of bowel cancer include:
- Gripping pains in the abdomen
- Feeling bloated
- Constipation and being unable to pass wind
- Being sick
- Feeling like you need to strain – like doing a number two – but after you've been to the loo
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