Part of me thinks my daughter Deborah James always knew she only had a limited time in this world, says heartbroken mum | The Sun

DAME Deborah James' heartbroken mum has revealed how her brave daughter always knew she had a "limited time" on earth.

Heather praised her incredible daughter, who has raised a staggering £7.4million to fund cancer research since her death in June.

She told The Sun how Deborah always loved life as she revealed she will "miss her forever".

Heather added: "I was given this child, and I believe all children are gifts.

“I’ve always known she was a bit different, and we are so proud of her and what she achieved in her short life.

“Part of me thinks she knew she would only be in this world for a limited time, and so made the most of every second.”

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Tireless campaigner Deborah passed away aged 40 on June 28 from bowel cancer after being diagnosed with the disease in 2016.

The mum-of-two captured the hearts of the nation with her frank admissions on her Bowel Babe Instagram page.

In her final weeks, Deborah was made a Dame and had Prince William over for tea.

Despite being unable to walk without help, she also found the strength to launch a clothing line, designed charity T-shirts to raise another £1million for her BowelBabe Fund and managed to complete her second book, How To Live When You Should Be Dead.

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Mum Heather says her daughter was always a ball of energy who used to tell her: "Mummy, there are just not enough hours in the day to do everything I want to do".

As a child, she "loved life" – a trait that Deborah carried with her as she used every ounce of her energy to try and leave the world a better place following her diagnosis.

Heather said: "We will miss her forever. She was the one who instigated our next adventure, and brought the sparkle to our lives.

“She had this incredible ability to make something out of nothing.

“As a teenager the best present she ever got was a bag of scrap material from the local fancy dress shop, she turned it into incredible costumes.

“Even as a grown up her favourite shop was Hobbycraft, and Eloise is exactly the same.”


One of the things Heather says she admired most about her eldest was the way she brought up her own children, Hugo and Eloise.

“She was a very different mum to me and I really respected her for it,” she admits. “I was more of a perfectionist – I refused to let her leave the house with odd socks.

“But Deborah would let the kids go out in fancy dress. I’d warn her they would get cold, and she would tell me, ‘they’ll learn’.

“She brought the kids up to learn from their mistakes, I just tried to protect her from making mistakes.”

On May 9, Deborah shared a heartbreaking post, revealing that she had left hospital and was no longer having treatment for her cancer.

She was given just days to live. But in true Deborah style, she refused to give into her inevitable fate.

As at every step of her cancer journey, Debs defied the odds again, living for just over seven weeks.

Her husband Seb said in those final weeks, he "never loved her more".

He also revealed how he told his wife how proud he was of her as she took her last breath.

Seb added: "I kissed her on the head. I told her how much I loved her, that I would look after the kids and the last thing I said to her was that I was so proud of her. Then she slipped away.

“She had an incredibly peaceful death, if there was a way to die well, then she managed it.

“At the very end, it was quite spiritual.”

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  • To donate to Deborah’s BowelBabe fund visit

Ebury, a division of Penguin Random House, will pay £3 from the sale of ‘How To Live When You Could Be Dead’ by Deborah James in the UK to Bowelbabe Fund for Cancer Research UK.  Cancer Research UK is a charity registered in England and Wales (1089464), Scotland (SC041666), Isle of Man (1103) and Jersey (247).

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