Touching tributes have been pouring in for cancer campaigner Dame Deborah James, who has died from bowel cancer.
The inspiring 40-year-old was a co-host of BBC’s You, Me and the Big C podcast, which she launched with Lauren Mahon and the late Rachael Bland.
She is known to many as Bowel Babe thanks to her tireless campaigning to raise awareness of bowel cancer, which most recently included setting up the Bowel Babe Fund (it’s raised £6.8m and counting).
One of the most moving tributes paid to Deborah so far comes from Steve Bland, who stepped in as presenter after the death of his wife Rachael.
Steve wrote: “How many of us will be able to look back on our lives and say that people are alive becomes of what we’ve done? Deb can. She banged the drum for bowel cancer to educate us all on the symptoms, and she tirelessly campaigned for drugs and treatments to be made available. Thousands of people are alive today because of Deb.
“We didn’t know each other that well before Rach died. In fact, Deb’s first text to me was just before she died in 2018. No gushy stuff – just ‘how can I help?’ To so many people she was this kick ass cancer campaigner. To me and those of us who were lucky enough to know her well, she was just our friend, and I’m going to miss her so so much. I’ll even miss the streams of WhatsApps in the middle of the night when she was on steroids!
“I’ve got so much more to say and I’m sure I’ll get chance to say it. But for now, sleep easy gorgeous Deb. You achieved everything, you changed the world and I’m so proud of you.”
Lauren Mahon has written: “Love and thoughts are of course with the hearts of @bowelbabe’s family and friends, espesh the kids.
“There’s only one Deborah James. Please give me time.”
Deborah’s mother Heather, also known as Bowelgran, simply wrote: “My heart is broken. Love you forever.”
Adele Roberts, who has herself just been given the all-clear from bowel cancer, said: “My heart hurts. Thank you for everything Deborah. Thank you for being so strong for so long and helping others when you were in so much pain yourself.
“You are the best of us. Thinking of your family and friends and I am forever grateful to you for helping me and my family. Rebellious hope forever.”
Prime Minister Boris Johnson wrote: “I’m terribly saddened to hear that Dame Deborah James has died. What an inspiration she was to so many. The awareness she brought to bowel cancer and the research her campaigning has funded will be her enduring legacy. Because of her, many many lives will be saved.”
Angela Rayner also paid tribute, writing: “Rest in peace Deborah James. What an incredible, fierce, bright and brilliant woman. An absolutely extraordinary campaigner. Thank you for your rebellious hope and the millions you have inspired @bowelbabe. Thinking of your many loved ones.”
Lorraine Kelly said: “We will be celebrating the life of our friend and force of nature @bowelbabe on todays show. We all knew it was coming but somehow I thought Deborah would bounce back like she always did. What a legacy she leaves us. Sending so much love to her family and everyone who knew her.”
BBC presented Jon Kay added: “We all knew this day was coming – but it doesn’t make the news any easier to hear. We’ll reflect on the life and legacy of the wonderful @bowelbabe on #BBCBreakfast tomorrow morning. Love to Deborah’s friends and family.”
Amanda Pritchard, chief executive of the NHS, said: “On behalf of the whole NHS, I want to offer my condolences to the loved ones of Deborah James — her amazing attitude was humbling and a lesson to us all. Her fundraising has helped countless cancer patients and her determination to raise awareness will have saved many lives.”
The news of Deborah’s death was announced yesterday by her family, who said: “We are deeply saddened to announce the death of Dame Deborah James; the most amazing wife, daughter, sister, mummy. Deborah passed away peacefully today, surrounded by her family.
“Deborah, who many of you will know as Bowelbabe, was an inspiration and we are incredibly proud of her and her work and commitment to charitable campaigning, fundraising and her endless efforts to raise awareness of cancer that touched so many lives.
“Deborah shared her experience with the world to raise awareness, break down barriers, challenge taboos and change the conversation around cancer. Even in her most challenging moments, her determination to raise money and awareness was inspiring.
“We thank you for giving us time in private as a family, and we look forward to continuing Deborah’s legacy long into the future through the @bowelbabefund
“Thank you for playing your part in her journey, you are all incredible.
“And a few final things from Deborah…“find a life worth enjoying; take risks; love deeply; have no regrets; and always, always have rebellious hope. And finally, check your poo – it could just save your life.” x”
Featured image: Instagram, @bowelbabe
Sir David Jason set for TV return in Only Fools and Horses documentary Christmas special
In a surprise bit of festive news, the only and only Sir David Jason is returning for an Only Fools and Horses Christmas special this December. Lovely jubbly!
The best-loved and most-watched British comedy of all time will be back on our screens in documentary form this festive season, with Del Boy himself David Jason revisiting the iconic comedy character after 20 years he last played him on screen.
While the legendary sitcom was broadcast on BBC back in the day, the highly-anticipated Only Fools doc will be airing on Channel 5 right before Christmas as a special one-off programme.
Looking back on the show’s incredible run on UK screens over seven series and the several ‘Christmas Cracker’ specials, specifically, the latest Only Fools and Horses documentary will see Jason and a number of other guests appearing to chat about the legendary show.
While it’s still unclear how many of the original cast will be appearing, Jason’s on-screen wife Tessa Peake-Jones (Raquel) is confirmed to be appearing along with other special guests including newscaster Krishnan Guru-Murthy and Bendiorm‘s Sherrie Hewson.
Sadly, a full theatrical reunion just isn’t on the cards following the deaths of Roger Lloyd Pack (Trigger), Kenneth MacDonald (Mike the Landlord) and Buster Merryfield (Uncle Albert) in the 30 years since the show ended its run.
Only Fools writer John Sullivan also sadly passed away aged 64 in 2011 and fellow co-star Nicholas Lyndhurst, a.k.a. Rodney Trotter, told Metro: “We can’t. John is no longer with us. John was the driving force of the show and we have also lost quite a few cast members now.
“I don’t think I could do it without them and I certainly couldn’t do it without John. At the risk of depressing everyone, I think the last two times I’ve seen David has been at funerals.”
Simply entitled, ‘The Story Of Only Fools And Horses At Christmas’, the 90-minute special is yet to have its broadcast date fully confirmed but you best keep your eyes peeled on the TV guide — we’ll let you know as soon we do.
Jason, 81, has only just recovered from hip surgery earlier this year, so it’ll be nice to see his familiar grin back on our screens.
Right, we’re off to binge a whole series on UK Gold.
Habas restaurant in Manchester announces shock closure – with huge closing-down discount
Habas, the Middle Eastern restaurant launched by the team behind El Gato Negro, has announced its shock closure.
The subterranean restaurant will be going out with a bang though, promising one last knees-up with a big discount.
Habas will be doing 25% off its entire food and drink menu this New Year’s Eve so that fans of the eatery can raise a glass to the Manchester restaurant.
They’re also hoping that Mancs will raise a glass to new beginnings, teasing a brand new concept.
Habas is located at Brown Street in Manchester city centre and has been serving up its Middle Eastern menu since 2021.
It comes from Mills Hill Developments Limited, the company also responsible for El Gato Negro and Canto, fronted by celebrated chef Simon Shaw.
Habas has stressed that its closure ‘is not forever’ as it announces details of its New Year’s Eve closing down party.
You can ring in the new year with a selection of mezze dishes, sharing platters and small plates, feasting on chicken tagine and traditional tzatziki, all 25% off on Sunday 31 December.
Drinks, too, like the cranberry elderflower martini, blackberry ginger smash and clementine daquiri will be with 25% off.
Simon Shaw, Chef Parton at Mills Hill Developments Limited, said: “As of January 2024, we have made the decision to close the doors of Habas Bar & Restaurant, however we are thrilled to announce that our Brown Street venue has an exciting new concept on the way.
“Throughout December, Habas, will continue serving up the city’s best middle-eastern cuisine, so make sure you pop in and see us. AND on New Year’s Eve, Habas, will be hosting an unforgettable celebration with 25% off food and drinks. We want to rejoice with all of our customers, with one final hurrah!
“We would like to thank all of our guests and reassure Habas fans that this is not the end of Habas Bar & Restaurant forever, simply a farewell from Brown Street for now.
“We look forward to welcoming you to our new exciting concept in Q1 of 2024.”