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Dame Deborah James has rose named in her honour

Campaigner says she hopes her daughter will choose the rose for her wedding bouquet one day

Saman Javed
Saturday 21 May 2022 12:19 BST
Dame Deborah James has raised more than £6.4 million for Cancer Research UK
Dame Deborah James has raised more than £6.4 million for Cancer Research UK (Ken McKay/ITV/Shutterstock)

Cancer campaigner Dame Deborah James has had a rose named in her honour, which will go on display at the 2022 Chelsea Flower Show.

The BBC podcast host, who is receiving at-home end of life care for bowel cancer, shared the news with her Instagram followers on Friday 20 May.

The blush pink flower is currently available for pre-order to arrive in autumn, with £2.50 from each sale being donated to James’ Bowelbabe Fund.

Sharing a photograph of herself holding a large bouquet of roses, James told followers she hopes the flower may one day be a part of her daughter’s wedding day.

“What breaks my heart and brings me the most beautiful thought, is that this variety will and can now be grown forever, and maybe one day even Eloise might choose to have it in her wedding bouquet,” James wrote.

The rose is being introduced at the Chelsea Flower show by World of Roses and the Harkness Rose Company.

The blooms will also be incorporated into Harkness’ Community Gardening Scheme, with the company pledging to give away 1,000 roses to community gardens across the UK this autumn.

“I actually cried when they asked me if they could name a rose after me. The new rose is available to pre-order now for delivery in Autumn 2022,” James said.

“Even better, £2.50 from the sale of each rose will be paid to the @Bowelbabefund. There is of course a limited supply of Rose plants for sale! I just can’t wait for my family to plant them everywhere this autumn.

“Roses are my favourite flowers and I hope this one will brighten the smiles for all!”

James, who was diagnosed with bowel cancer in 2016, moved into hospice-at-home care last week, telling her Instagram followers that her body “just can’t continue anymore”.

She also launched a Bowelbabe Fund for Cancer Research UK, which aims to raise money for clinical trials and research into cancer as well as campaigns to raise awareness of bowel cancer. The fund has raised more than £6.4 million so far.

James’ efforts to raise awareness of the disease while bravely sharing her own experience have been recognised by both the Royal Family and UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who awarded her a damehood on 12 May.

Earlier this week, James announced she has written a second book, How To Live When You Could Be Dead, telling her instagram followers she is “gutted” she will not be alive to see its publication.

“I wrote another book!! So I’ve got a few things to share with you before I die that I’m gutted I won’t see in real life! But I’ve now been granted permission to share them and I’m really excited!” she said.

“For the last 2 years I’ve been working on my second book How to Live when you could be Dead - oh the irony of the title! I wanted to share all my (hard-won!!) learning on how to have a positive mindset when we are faced with life’s biggest challenges.”

The Dame Deborah James Rose can be ordered here.

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