Tributes have poured in from across the Suffolk community for Dame Deborah James who raised close to £7million through her Bowelbabe Fund.

Dame Deborah was diagnosed with incurable bowel cancer in 2016 and determinedly campaigned to raise awareness of the symptoms of the disease.

She started receiving hospice care at home in May this year and sadly passed away on Tuesday, June 28.

A spokesman for Cancer Campaign in Suffolk said: "Everyone at Cancer Campaign in Suffolk is very sad to hear about the death of Dame Deborah James.

"As a local cancer charity, we understand how important her messages were, and still are, of raising awareness around the difficult subject of talking about cancer and bowel cancer in particular.

"Deborah managed to take the mystery out of checking for early signs that something might not be right and urged people to seek help as early as possible because an early diagnosis means early treatment.

"Millions of lives are likely to have been saved by Deborah sharing her cancer experience, raising awareness of cancer and breaking down the uncomfortable conversations we all need to have. That is the important legacy she leaves behind."

Professor Mark Shenton of Suffolk's Integrated Care Academy praised her life-saving courage in bringing bowel cancer symptoms out into the open: "Dame Deborah turned a bowel cancer diagnosis into something incredibly positive.

"By encouraging everyone to stay alert to the signs of cancer and not delay in getting symptoms checked out, she has undoubtedly helped save lives."

More than 90% of people with bowel cancer have one of the following combinations of symptoms: a persistent change in bowel habit, blood in the faeces without other symptoms of piles and abdominal pain, discomfort or bloating always brought on by eating.

Professor Shelton added: "These symptoms don't necessarily mean you have cancer but it's so important you make contact with your GP practice to get checked out.

"The earlier cancer is diagnosed the better your chances of survival."