Deborah James has said she is ‘blown away’ after being made a Dame for her tireless campaigning for cancer charities.
The inspirational broadcaster and author announced earlier this week that she is receiving hospice care at home after stopping her cancer treatment, and has said she ‘could have weeks to live at most’.
In recent days, the You, Me & The Big C host has raised over £3million for charities that have helped her over the past five years, through her Bowelbabe Fund.
After calls for her to receive the Royal honour, it has been revealed that Deborah is now officially Dame Deborah James.
‘I don’t know what to say. I’m blown away and feel incredibly honoured,’ she said reacting to the news.
She added to The Sun: ‘I don’t feel like I deserve this. I can’t tell you what this means to my family, it’s so much to take in.’
Dame Deborah’s husband Sebastien Bowen said the public support of the fundraiser has ‘brought a piercing ray of light and hope into this, the darkest of times’, adding that the Damehood is ‘so truly deserved’.
Downing Street said the Queen was ‘pleased to approve the honour of damehood’ be bestowed upon Deborah James.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson hailed Dame Deborah as an figure of inspiration to the country.
‘If ever an honour was richly deserved, this is it,’ the leader said.
‘Deborah has been an inspiration and her honesty, warmth and courage has been a source of strength to so many people.
‘Through her tireless campaigning and by so openly sharing her experience she has not only helped in our fight against this terrible disease, she has ensured countless others with the Big C have not felt alone. I hope this recognition from Her Majesty — backed I’m sure by the whole country — will provide some comfort to Deborah and her family at this difficult time.
‘My thoughts are with them and Deborah should know she has the country’s love and gratitude.’
It comes after Prince William and Kate Middleton tweeted a message of support to Dame Deborah, while also making a donation of an undisclosed amount to The Bowelbabe Fund.
‘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,’ the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge said.
‘Deborah, our thoughts are with you, your family and your friends. Thank you for giving hope to so many who are living with cancer.’
Dame Deborah was diagnosed with incurable bowel cancer in 2016 and has undergone at least 17 surgical procedures to remove tumours.
On Tuesday, she shared the devastating news that doctors are unable to prolong her life, and she is now under hospice care at home with the focus on her being as comfortable as possible.
The BBC presenter is spending quality time with her husband Sebastien and their two children at her parents’ house, where she has chosen to die to spare her children the memory of her dying at their London home.