Deborah James’s mother is the image of her late daughter in old photo

Dame Deborah James‘s mother Heather has shared a throwback photo of herself and her husband Alistair – and fans have noted the resemblance between her and her late daughter.

The gymnastics instructor, 66, shared a post on Instagram in which she wished her husband a happy 46th wedding anniversary.

The mother-of-three revealed the photo was taken two years before the couple married, with Heather donning the white high-neck dress and tan platform heels – an outfit she later repeated as her ‘going away’ outfit after the couple married in Dorset. 

Posting the photo, which was taken in 1975, on Instagram, plus another snap of the couple that was taken this summer, Heather reminisced about old times with her husband, while noting the ups and downs they have shared during their marriage – alluding to the loss of their daughter Deborah when she died last year from bowel cancer.

Heather wrote: ‘After many memories of both joy and obviously extreme sadness and loss that family life has brought to us we will continue to make memories and be grateful for each day because as we know life is so precious.’

Heather James has shared a photo from 1975 of herself and her husband Alistair to mark their 46th wedding anniversary

Fans and well wishers commented on the photo to point out Heather’s resemblance to her late daughter in the older photo – joking that the cancer campaigner inherited her sense of style from her mother.

One person, who wished the couple a happy anniversary, said: ‘Gosh Debs looks so much like you.’

Another agreed, writing: ‘Deborah looks so much like you in that photo.’

A third person said: ‘I can really see Dame Deborah in your beautiful pictures.’ 

Many fans agreed they could see the late cancer campaigner, nicknamed the Bowel Babe, in the photos of Heather.

Fans and loved ones were quick to point out that Heather looked just like her late daughter, Dame Deborah James

Dame Deborah, pictured just weeks before her death in June 2022 with her father Alistair, died at the age of 40

The mother-of-two and podcast host, who died in June 2022 at the age of 40, five years after her stage four bowel cancer diagnosis, shared a close relationship with her mother.

Heather was by her daughter’s side during countless hospital stays, joined in with Deborah’s viral ‘chemo dances’, in which the pair would shake a leg to help the presenter get through another chemotherapy cycle, and cared for her grandchildren ‘at the drop of a hat’. 

She also shared updates on her daughter’s condition using her Instagram page – once called @bowelgran but now @heatherjamesofficial, when Deborah was too ill to do so.

The broadcaster and mother-of-two never shied away from showering her mother with praise.

On Heather’s birthday in 2021, Dame Deborah posted a sweet Instagram post to her mother.

She wrote: ‘Thank you for everything you do for all of us, especially for relentlessly nursing me back to health, again, and again and again!

‘From hiding in my hospital room to ensure I get my drugs, to sleeping on the sofa with me when I’m scared, to cutting up my toast into tiny squares so I can just nibble them when not hungry!’

After Dame Deborah announced she was moving into hospice at home care when doctors could do no more for her, she told fans she would be living out her days at her parents’ house in Woking.

During her time with them, they hosted Prince William for afternoon tea after he popped over to personally present Deborah with her Damehood. 


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