Deborah James in floral dress on BBC and Steve Bland on Lorraine

Dame Deborah James’ poignant comment about her funeral revealed by close friend following her death

Deborah sadly died on Tuesday

Tributes to Dame Deborah James have been pouring in since her death, and this morning her close friend appeared on Lorraine.

Deborah’s death has hit many hard, and on Wednesday, Lorraine Kelly dedicated her show to the beloved campaigner.

The ITV star invited Deborah‘s pal, Steve Bland, onto the show to share his memories of the star and discuss his grief.

Steve’s wife Rachael – who was Deborah’s podcast co-star – died from breast cancer at the same age in 2018.

Dame Deboarah James during an appearance on Lorraine before her death
Tributes for Deborah James have been pouring in (Credit: ITV)

Dame Deborah James

“I was awake at the crack of dawn and it just hit me,” he told Lorraine. “This moment that, like you say, we’ve known for five years was coming, five and a half years since she was diagnosed. That makes what she’s done in those five and a half years, what she packed in, the people that she helped and the lives that she saved more remarkable. This was never an easy ride for her. She’s done so much I’m so proud of her.”

“When she was on one of her steroid treatments she would bombard us with 100 messages with ideas,” he continued. “She had such an unbelievable zest for life.

Later in the interview, Steve added: “She was messaging me last week asking about how I organised the funeral [for his wife Rachael].

“She was super organised, and like you say, did it exactly on her terms. She would have given everything for another week, another month with her wonderful family.”

Earlier in the morning over on BBC Breakfast, he proudly added: “Thousands of people are alive because of her.”

Meanwhile, Lorraine also became emotional while discussing Deborah’s life and the impact she had.

After a pre-recorded tribute came to an end, Lorraine had to take a moment to apologise to viewers.

Deborah James' friend leading tributes on Lorraine on Wednesday
Deborah James’ friend lead tributes on Lorraine on Wednesday (Credit: ITV)

Lorraine Kelly today

Turning to the camera, said: “Sorry. Just seeing that. We knew this was going to happen, but it still doesn’t feel quite real.”

During the heartbreaking video tribute, Lorraine shared her love and admiration for Deborah.

She told viewers: “Most importantly Deborah has left an incredible legacy and she’s saved people’s lives.

“We remember her as a dear friend of the show and the heart and soul of our bowel cancer campaign. She will be so sadly missed and our thoughts are with her family at this time.”

Meanwhile, an array of stars and friends have come out in droves today to share their heartbreak. Tributes have poured in from up and down the country, including from the Prime Minister himself.

Leave your tributes to Deborah on our Facebook page @EntertainmentDailyFix and let us know. 

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