Deborah James and Lauren Mahon pictured in early 2020 (Photo: David M. Benett via Getty Images)
Dame Debroah James’ podcast co-host Lauren Mahon has opened up about losing a “fabulous force of nature”, following the cancer campaigner’s death.
Last week, Dame Deborah, known as Bowelbabe, died at the age of 40, having been diagnosed with bowel cancer in 2016.
She launched the You, Me And The Big C podcast with Lauren and the late Rachael Bland in September 2018, where the trio discussed their experiences of living with cancer.
Lauren paid an emotional tribute to her friend as she appeared on BBC Breakfast on Tuesday, following the release of the latest episode, in which she shares memories of her friend alongside Rachel’s husband Steve Bland.
Lauren, who was diagnosed with breast cancer at 31, said Deborah’s death felt “surreal”.
She said: “I don’t think it’s really hit, we have moments where it feels very real and a bit overwhelming, but I think it is all a bit surreal.
“She was the comeback kid, so it’s all been a bit surreal.”
“The person we miss is the deviant, our Deb, the woman who had the most outrageous cackle… the twinkle in the eye”
Dame Deborah James as remembered by her close friend and fellow ‘You, Me and the Big C’ host, Lauren Mahon, with producer Mike Holt ⤵️https://t.co/fflhR0QNTlpic.twitter.com/LxILyLC8TL
— BBC Breakfast (@BBCBreakfast) July 5, 2022
Speaking about the latest episode of the You, Me And The Big C podcast, she said: “Its about our Deb. We say quite explicitly that the world and the country are mourning the Dame, a fabulous force of nature who always looked dolled up to the nines, told it how it was, raised millions of pounds for life-saving cancer research, but the person we miss is the deviant, our Deb.
“The woman who had the most outrageous cackle, the woman who would show up to recordings dishevelled, and the twinkle in her eye.
“When we were doing the podcast it was lovely to recount the memories of our Deb. We’ve had her for so many more years than we thought we would.
“The thing is we are in one of the dark phases now, but there is so much light and there always has been. I am incredibly proud of us.”
Deborah, seen here with her husband Sebastien Bowen in May, died last week at the age of 40 (Photo: The Harkness Rose Company via PA Media)
Following Dame Deborah’s death last week, tributes flooded in from celebrities and public figures, with Prince William and Kate Middleton also paying their respects on Twitter.
She was awarded a Damehood by the Duke of Cambridge at her home for her “tireless campaigning” efforts in May, after raising millions of pounds for cancer charities.
The campaigner had been increasing awareness of bowel cancer for years and raised more than £6.7 million for Cancer Research UK, Bowel Cancer UK and the Royal Marsden Cancer Charity through her Bowelbabe fund on JustGiving.
You, Me And The Big C is available to listen to on BBC Sounds. BBC Breakfast airs daily from 6am on BBC One and BBC News.
This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.