Zoe Ball returns to BBC Radio 2 weeks after mother's sudden death from cancer

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Zoe Ball has returned to her BBC Radio 2 show following her mother's death in April, only 12 weeks after being diagnosed with cancer.

The radio DJ announced her mother Julia Peckham’s pancreatic cancer diagnosis in March and subsequently took time off work to care for her.

Her family gathered to bid their final farewell at her funeral on Wednesday, a day that Zoe Ball described as 'perfect'.

Returning to the airwaves just after 6:30am this morning, the 53-year-old brought her usual bubbly energy and thanked presenter Gaby Roslin for covering her breakfast show slot during her absence.

"Good morning gang! How is everyone, you lovely lot?" she began as she addressed listeners at the start of her show.

"The first text in this morning is from Lesley in Eastbourne who said, 'Morning Zoe, so good to have you back'."

"You're saying that now Lesley, give me ten minutes and you might change your mind!" she quipped.

Zoe then expressed her gratitude to her Early Breakfast Show colleague Owain Wyn Evans, saying: "Thank you so much to Owain – loved a bit of Tusk on the air drum anthem this morning. A real boost that I needed."

"Thanks so much to Gabby for being here for you guys for the last few weeks – and for being here for me," she also commented.

"I'm so grateful to you all for your amazing messages about my dear mum."

On Thursday night, she emotionally paid tribute to Julia and shared a collection of photos of them together over the years.

"Yesterday we said goodbye to our dear Mama, Granny J. It was the perfect day and she would have loved it," Zoe shared.

"Forever in our hearts Mama, thank you for your magic & love. Missing you so much but holding tight to each other."

The broadcaster continued: "Thank you to everyone who sent kind messages, cards & flowers. Big love to the many of you who have shared with us about your own loss and heartbreak, to those battling with cancer or looking after loved ones affected by cancer.

"We wish you all the strength and love and of course the humour you need to keep going," she added, admitting that "some days it's so hard to be brave".

After revealing that her mother had been moved to hospice care just a week before her death, Zoe later announced the passing of her 'dear Mama' in the early hours of April 24.

She added: "Thank you for teaching us how to love unconditionally, to always show courage and empathy, and how, even in the darkest of days, laughter is the greatest of gifts.

"We are bereft without you but will hold tight to each other. Your grace & your smile that lit up every room you were in, will light the stars to guide us."

She had previously mentioned that her mother’s cancer was "heartbreakingly quite advanced" and the family were focusing on making memories together.

Zoe wrapped up her first breakfast show back on Monday by thanking travel presenter Richie Anderson for welcoming her back and for the "good gossip".

"Thanks very much for all the lovely messages, everyone. It's wonderful to be back with you all," she said once more.