Mental health worker Deborah Bone who inspired Pulp’s Disco 2000 dies

Champion of young people’s mental health, who had bone marrow cancer, dies hours after being awarded an MBE

A pioneering mental health worker who inspired Pulp’s hit single Disco 2000 and was awarded an MBE in the New Year honours list has died aged 51.

Deborah Bone had been diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a type of bone marrow cancer, and died on 30 December – hours after receiving an honour for her services to children and young people.

Bone, who lived in Letchworth in Hertfordshire, with her husband and two daughters, developed ways to help young people cope with high stress and anxiety, including a visual resource dubbed Brainbox and the award-winning Bright Stars programme used in primary schools across her home county.

Born in Sheffield, Bone’s mother is close friends with the mother of Pulp frontman Jarvis Cocker – an association that led to her being named in Disco 2000 in the lyric: “Well we were born within one hour of each other. Our mothers said we could be sister and brother. Your name is Deborah. Deborah. It never suited ya.”

Pulp’s Disco 2000 namechecks Deborah Bone

Cocker is said to have sung the 1995 hit at Bone’s 50th birthday celebrations last year.

Her death was announced in a post on her blog, My Myeloma Journey, on New Year’s Day by Bone’s husband, Colin, and their daughters, Pollyanna and Jemima. They said: “We are sorry to let you know that after a brave fight, Deborah passed away on December 30th, peacefully at home. She loved life and fought to the end.

“Deborah was a truly inspirational woman, always putting other people before herself. She worked tirelessly to improve the lives of those around her and it is with great pride we can tell you that in the New Year’s honours list 2015 she received an MBE for her services to children’s mental health.

“She leaves behind a loving family – her two beautiful daughters, grandson and husband who all miss her greatly and will continue to follow in her footsteps.

“As a family, we would like to thank you all for the support and kind wishes. We will be creating a book of our Mummy’s life and memories. Please could you share any photographs, notes or thoughts with us so together we can forever honour her memory.”

The family asked for donations to the young people’s mental health charity Young Minds as a tribute to Bone’s life and work.

Contributor

Josh Halliday

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Jarvis Cocker fronts campaign to save Sheffield trees
Pop star enters dispute over felling of roadside trees as it emerges council leader has not seen full version of Amey contract

Josh Halliday North of England correspondent

20, Jan, 2017 @4:25 PM

Article image
Damehood for Professor Til Wykes is a recognition of mental health work | Letters
Letters: Professor Til has promoted mental health research in rehabilitation for 30 years and the award is recognition of the value of her and her colleagues’ work

Letters

01, Jan, 2016 @6:26 PM

Pulp to Scorsese: down-to-earth Sheffield Doc/Fest reaches for the stars
Thriving documentary festival plays down glamour but attracts music and screen stars showcasing a wealth of premieres, reports Helen Pidd

Helen Pidd, northern editor

08, Jun, 2014 @4:02 PM

Article image
Breathwork and gig buddies: Lewis Capaldi launches fan mental health scheme
Scottish singer’s Livelive scheme aims to help fans suffering from panic attacks and social anxiety

Katie Hawthorne

06, Mar, 2020 @5:58 PM

Article image
From Pulp to Prokofiev: Jarvis Cocker narrates Peter and the Wolf
Helen Pidd: Pulp singer delights his young audience at Royal Festival Hall with his narration of the Russian composer's children's story

Helen Pidd

29, Dec, 2010 @5:57 PM

Article image
Sheffield's Rare & Racy: the independent music store Jarvis Cocker says it would be 'a crime to destroy'
Sheffield City Council recently voted in favour of demolishing this much-loved shop. So what does that say for the future of the city’s so-called ‘independent quarter’?

Rob Waugh

31, Mar, 2015 @10:59 AM

Article image
Pulp reunite for 2011 concerts
Band gets back together despite Jarvis Cocker once saying he 'couldn't really see the point' of reforming

Rosie Swash

08, Nov, 2010 @8:21 PM

Article image
Impact of air pollution on health may be far worse than thought, study suggests
Results chime with earlier review indicating almost every cell in the body may be affected by dirty air

Nicola Davis

27, Nov, 2019 @11:30 PM

Article image
Pulp matter more than ever in today's cowed popcultural landscape | Owen Hatherley

Owen Hatherley: The band have returned to a moribund music scene crying out for Jarvis Cocker's acute class-consciousness

Owen Hatherley

14, Jun, 2011 @6:35 PM

Article image
Dementia and Alzheimer’s main cause of death for women, says Public Health England
Female life expectancy is now 83 years but many women will spend a quarter of their lives in ill-health, finds report

Sarah Boseley Health editor

13, Jul, 2017 @6:12 PM