Deborah had been ill for many months but had been through many treatments for her illness and had been given the all clear but some months later the cancer would return and it would lead to her passing away.

The picture above shows Deborah  in the middle flanked by our producer Rebecca Kelly and myself, at a fabulous party to celebrate her 41st birthday.

It was held in her home town of Buxton and it was a truly joyous event as she had recently been given the all clear.

I first met Deborah when she came into Sunday Breakfast for an interview on Mother’s Day some years ago.

Deborah was a joy from the moment she walked into the studio to the moment that she left.

When Father Michael Walsh, the regular presenter of the religious paper review passed away, our producer suggested that Deborah was the perfect person to take over the slot. And she was!

Deborah was a total joy as she breezed into the studio every Sunday morning usually with some baked goods to brighten the lives of everyone in the studio including guests.

We spent hours arguing about the merits of certain songs and whether they would make their way onto the Sunday Breakfast playlist.

I remember she told me about the Leona Lewis track Footprints in the sand. I went away and listened to it on Youtube.

I have to admit I didn’t like at at all. The following week I told here I didn’t like it and she was outraged. She begged me to listen to it again not on Youtube but from the CD.

She was right… it sounded wonderful and it soon became a regular on the programme.

We had some wonderful discussions on the air about stories that were in the religious press.

Deborah was a Roman Catholic with a wonderful strong faith. She had been a nun at the Vatican, had met Pope John Paul 11 and told us the wonderful story of his calling her cheeky and he rounded it off by saying “Don’t ever change.”

Read the Daily Mail story about Deborah Hollamby

After many years in Religious Orders Deborah decided to leave and build herself a life outside, but with her own personal Faith still intact.

I can well remember the phone call when Deborah called me to tell me that she had been diagnosed with cancer. We were both in tears on the phone.

Now I want to say here that Deborah was not crying because she was afraid to die. As a strong Christian she believed in life after death and that in death she would meet Jesus who would be there awaiting her arrival.

Well Deborah went through here treatments and would eventually be told that she was all clear. I remember her telling me that the doctor had told her to go home and enjoy seeing her children (the poppets) grow up.

When she had been given the all clear she started to ease her way back into her many broadcasting roles one of which was Sunday Breakfast.

I remember interviewing her during this time and her saying that she was feeling great but was still experiencing some tiredness.

Well investigations would later reveal that the cancer had returned and this time it would lead to her death.

I can clearly remember hearing the news of her death.

On the afternoon in question I had left my phone on charge in the bedroom and when I went to get it there were two missed calls from Deborah. The phone immediately rang again and I said as I always did Deborah Hollamby! It wasn’t Deborah but her husband (Mr husband). He told me that he had some bad news and that Deborah had passed away that morning.

We spoke for an unbelievable amount of time as he told me how her passing had occurred.

He told me something that I will remember for the rest of my life. he said “Mike she had a beautiful passing”. He said that snow was falling outside when she woke up, they prayed kissed each other and she simply went to sleep.

I have to admit as he spoke to me I was almost joyous. I have always marvelled at people with faith as strong as that. He said that Deborah was sure that God was waiting to welcome her into heaven. It was something that she had always believed and the prospect of death was not going to change that. Infact if anything it enhanced her belief.

Deborah’s funeral was wonderful, if a funeral could be wonderful.

Her father spoke about her early life and how she would begin her prayers every night with the words “Hello Jesus, Deborah here” as if she was speaking to an old friend.

What made her funeral extra special for me was that fact that it was snowing outside.

Over the years that Deborah was helping us on Sunday Breakfast the only reason that would keep her from coming in was if it was snowing.

For those who do no know Buxton in in a valley and it is usually one of the first places to be cut off when it snows.

It became a running joke that it must be snowing in Buxton.

After the funeral I spoke to her husband and told him if will forever be snowing in Buxton.

I think he knew exactly what I was saying.

Deborah Hollamby is not the only person who has died from cancer or who will die from cancer but we should make sure that our health professionals have the right weapons with which to fight this dreadful illness.

When BBC Radio Manchester teamed up with The Christie to raise £1 million to buy a new mobile Chemotherapy unit, we, the presenters, were challenged to raise £2013 each.

I accepted the challenge with joy.

I now have a Justgiving page here and I am asking all my friends old and new to give what you can to help raise this money and let’s get this piece of equipment bought.

Last week I was commentating at a basketball game in Sheffield when I was handed an envelope by a lady whom I did not know. When I opened it, it contained £20.13p. I am printing a copy of the letter that accompanied that donation. I have not asked her permission to print this letter but I do hope Alison doesn’t mind.

If I could raise just £10.00 a day I will achieve my total.

I thank her and everyone who has made a donation and everyone who makes a donation in the future.


Mike S


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