Dame Deborah James makes secret visit to Chelsea Flower Show to see her rose

Dame Deborah James has made a secret trip to the RHS Chelsea Flower Show after having a rose named after her. 

The You, Me and the Big C podcast host, 40, arrived at the Chelsea Flower Show in a wheelchair with her husband to see her beautiful rose in person.

Dame Deborah has been undergoing hospice care at home after announcing earlier in the month that she was no longer able to have active treatment for her terminal bowel cancer, which she has battled since 2016.

A rose was recently named after her, with some of the proceeds going to her BowelBabe fund to raise money for cancer charities.

Dame Deborah, who said roses are her favourite flower, paid a visit to Chelsea on Tuesday evening for a private tour with her husband.

BBC presenter Sophie Raworth had helped organise the tour alongside the Royal Horticultural Society Chelsea, which lasted around an hour in private, and where she was able to see the rose introduced for the first time. 

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Dame Deborah told the broadcaster: ‘It meant absolutely everything to me. Flowers are a reminder of our future. We plant the seed not knowing what we might see grow.

‘Being around nature gives us a lift and it is a reminder that life continues to blossom, even in some of the hardest places, and brings a smile to all of our faces, even in the hardest of times – particularly mine.’

Dame Deborah announced the news of her rose on Instagram last week, writing: ‘I’m so honoured with the help of @worldofrosesuk and @theharknessrosecompany to announce the release of the Dame Deborah James Rose!

‘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 (link in stories and below). 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.’

She also hopes that the flower may one day be part of her 12-year-old daughter Eloise’s wedding bouquet, adding: ‘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.’

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