Dame Deborah James' Bowelbabe fund surpasses £7 million day after her death

Campaigner and podcast host Dame Deborah James. Credit: Instagram

Dame Deborah James' Bowelbabe fund has received a surge in donations, passing £7 million just a day after her family announced her death.

The podcaster, who died on Tuesday, became a patron for Bowel Cancer UK following her diagnosis in 2016 and worked to raise money for and awareness of the charity.

Celebrities, politicians and loved ones paid emotional tributes to the mother-of-two - also known as Bowelbabe - for her "tireless" and "inspirational" campaigning work, after she was diagnosed with the disease.

On May 9 she announced she had “tried everything” but her “body simply isn’t playing ball”. She moved into her parents' home in Woking, Surrey, to receive end-of-life care.

Sharing the news on Instagram, her family said she had "passed away peacefully" surrounded by her loved ones.

Dame Deborah's mother Heather, whose handle on Instagram is Bowelgran, shared a series of photos of her daughter and wrote: “My heart is broken. Love you forever.”Her fund initially set out to raise £250,000 but smashed the £1 million mark less than 24-hours after its launch last month.

The money raised will be used to fund clinical trials and research into personalised medicine that could result in new treatments for cancer patients, and also be used to continue to raise awareness of cancer, such as Bowel Cancer UK's Never Too Young campaign.

Bowel Cancer UK's chief executive Genevieve Edwards said Dame Deborah's legacy would live on through her campaigning work.

She said: “Deborah has been an incredible force for good, for our charity and others. Since the day of her diagnosis she has shone a bright light on bowel cancer.

“She hasn’t stopped in her tireless attempts to raise awareness. She has raised thousands and thousands of pounds for the causes close to her heart and even in the most difficult days personally for her she has never stopped helping others."

Ms Edwards described Dame Deborah’s legacy as “huge” and said she had never seen so many conversations about bowel cancer taking place.

Cancer Research UK chief executive, Michelle Mitchell added: “It is a fitting legacy and tribute to her that the British public have donated so generously to the Bowelbabe Fund to ensure that we continue to raise awareness, to look for new tests and treatments, to ensure that we improve cancer survival in this country.”

Ms Mitchell said the money would be split between the causes Dame Deborah cared greatly about, including The Royal Marsden and Bowel Cancer UK.

She added: “What Deborah has told me is that she particularly wanted to focus on ensuring that new tests and treatments were put in place.

“She wanted the money to be used for research into personalised treatment and also to continue to raise awareness of bowel cancer amongst the population as a whole."

Back in May, she was made a Dame at her parents' home after a visit from Prince William.

In a personal signed message on Twitter, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge said: "We are so sad to hear the heartbreaking news about Dame Deborah.

"Our thoughts are with her children, her family and her loved ones.

"Deborah was an inspirational and unfalteringly brave woman whose legacy will live on. W & C"

After donating to her fund, both the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge praised her "tireless efforts" and thanked her for "giving hope" to those living with the disease.