New charity single in honour of The Sun’s Dame Deborah James is released today | The Sun

A NEW charity single recorded in honour of The Sun’s Dame Deborah James is released today.

The cover of Tell Me It’s Not True from the musical Blood Brothers has been recorded by Debs’ close friend and jazz singer Natalie Rushdie.

The mum-of-two died in June last year at the age of 40 – just over five years after being diagnosed with stage 4 bowel cancer.

Dame Debs asked Natalie to sing her favourite song at her funeral, when they last saw each other on a day out at Ascot, a week before her death.

Months later, Deborah’s parents Heather and Alistair, asked Natalie to record the single.

Its release comes days after the first anniversary of Deborah’s death.

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They told The Sun: “It is so special to have Natalie sing it and we’re so grateful to her and all the musicians and everyone who dedicated their time.

“Deborah couldn’t really believe she was going to die – she had so much more living to do.

“That’s why the song really got to her.”

Debs’ husband Seb added: “Deborah loved music and she loved to dance, she would be over the moon at the idea of starring in her own music video.

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“Natalie performed beautifully at Deborah’s funeral and this production is simply breathtaking.”

Natalie, whose husband Zaf Rushdie is old friends with Debs’ husband Seb, said singing at her pal’s funeral was the “hardest” performance of her life.

The video features previously unseen footage of Dame Debs dancing, including a clip of her and Seb, dad to the couple’s two children, Hugo, 15 and Eloise, 13.

Natalie told The Sun: “I like to think that Deborah is dancing along somewhere now to the song, with a big glass of rose in hand.

“It’s been hard work recording the single but Deborah’s spirit has been the wind in our sails.

“I’m honoured to do it for her.”

In special tribute to Dame Debs, Prince William has already given the track his royal seal of approval.

The Prince of Wales last week told The Sun: “Dame Debs would be so proud. She inspired the nation.

“Her legacy will be countless lives saved from bowel cancer.

“I’m wishing Natalie all the very best for her single release to raise money for such an important cause.”

The royal awarded Debs her damehood at her family home in Woking, Surrey, in May last year.

The single is available from all major streaming and download platforms.

All proceeds will go to Deborah’s Bowelbabe Fund for Cancer Research UK.

Set up in the weeks before her death, it’s already raised a staggering £11.3million to fund life-saving research.

Her BBC podcast You Me and the Big C was also hailed as a gamechanger that has helped to educate millions more Brits on bowel cancer.

Figures show 77 per cent of people can name at least two signs of bowel cancer – up from 55 per cent last year.

Boss of Bowel Cancer UK Genevieve Edwards said the impact of Debs’ campaigning, which began from her diagnosis in 2016, has never been felt so highly.

She said: “The number of visitors to has never been higher, and tens of thousands more people are now seeking information about the disease.

“Her honesty, frankness and humour changed the landscape of bowel cancer and was the catalyst for the success of many campaigns to raise awareness of the symptoms of the disease.”

Some of those Dame Debs motivated to get checked have opened up about their own cancer experiences.

Nicky Crabbie, 52, made an appointment with her GP after listening to Dame Debs on the radio.

She told the Sunday Mirror: “I didn’t have any symptoms of bowel cancer, but I had a niggling feeling something was wrong.

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“I followed Dame Deborah quite closely and she kept saying that if something didn’t feel right then contact your GP, so I did just that and I’m so thankful as shortly after I was diagnosed with stage 1 bowel cancer.”

And Jane McLachlan, 62, added: “I remembered seeing Dame Deborah on TV and she inspired me to complete the test.”

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