Entertainment

Saturday 26 May 2018

Former EastEnders stars send support to Dame Barbara Windsor

They have offered messages of love after it was revealed she has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.

EastEnders veterans reunite
EastEnders veterans reunite
Former EastEnders and Carry On actress Dame Barbara Windsor (Jonathan Brady/PA)

By Press Association Reporters

Dame Barbara Windsor’s former EastEnders co-stars have sent her messages of support after her husband revealed the actress has been living with Alzheimer’s.

In an interview with the Sun, her husband Scott Mitchell explained how the 80-year-old EastEnders and Carry On star was diagnosed in April 2014.

Pam St Clement, who played Pat Butcher in the soap, said that she has known her former co-star has Alzheimer’s since the diagnosis around four years ago.

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EastEnders veterans reunite

St Clement told ITV’s Loose Women, of the reveal of Dame Barbara’s health on Thursday: “It came as a shock – but a welcome one.”

She said she thinks Dame Barbara and her husband Scott have “done exactly the right thing”.

“I think this needed to be said, it needed to be out in the open,” she added.

St Clement praised Mr Mitchell, saying: “He’s absolutely wonderful, I’ve got so much time for Scott, I would cross the ocean for Scott, he is wonderful. And I’m so pleased for her that she has him.”

Line Of Duty star Daniel Mays, who appeared in EastEnders in 2000, wrote on Twitter: “Sending my love and deepest wishes to Barbara Windsor.

“She welcomed me with open arms on my first gig @bbceastenders. I’ll never forget her warmth and generosity. It meant the world to me. A class act #Legend.”

Tim Parry, Alzheimer’s Research UK director, has praised the decision to go public with the devastating news, something he said they have been left “saddened” by.

“Alzheimer’s is the most common disease behind dementia, accounting for around two-thirds of cases of the condition in older people,” he said.

“It’s to be congratulated that Scott is speaking out to encourage other affected individuals and families to do the same when it’s right for them.

“It’s important to bring the disease out into the open as a crucial step towards us tackling it.

“Alzheimer’s is a physical disease, in the same way that cancer or heart disease are, and there shouldn’t be stigma in being open about it.

“Dame Barbara is a much-loved figure on our screens and in public life, and our hearts go out to her and her family.

“We hope she is able to maintain and enjoy her quality of life for as long as possible.”

Mr Parry said there are more than 850,000 people in the UK living with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.

He said research can ensure that better diagnosis, prevention and treatments are developed, which will “end the fear, harm and heartbreak of dementia”.

Television presenter Lorraine Kelly extended her sympathy, tweeting: “Such sad news about Barbara Windsor – a funny, kind, generous, big hearted woman.

“Alzheimer’s is a very cruel disease. I hope she knows how much she is loved. Thoughts with her husband Scott.”

Good Morning Britain host Piers Morgan was among the others sending messages to Dame Barbara.

He tweeted: “Sending my love & support to the fabulous Dame Barbara Windsor, one of my favourite people. Alzheimer’s is a horrible thing. She & Scott going public about it like this is a typically gutsy decision by one of the gutsiest ladies I know.

“We’re all rooting for you, Babs!”

Radio broadcaster Tony Blackburn wrote: “So sorry to hear the news about Barbara Windsor this morning. She’s a lovely lady. Lots of love.”

Breakfast TV presenter Eamonn Holmes wrote on Twitter: “Love this Woman! Ruth and I wish the #NationalTreasure that is Dame Barbara Windsor the very best after her Alzheimer’s diagnosis.”

“My beautiful dear friend Dame Barbara Windsor is an amazing woman and I will love her and wonderful Scott for ever,” TV presenter Gaby Roslin wrote.

“We’ve been friends for so many years and they are strong and brave together. Sending so much love and thanks for all you do @alzheimerssoc.”

Actress Vicki Michelle said she was “so sorry to hear the news” about Dame Barbara, who she called a “strong, positive woman” and “a real survivor”.

Boxer Frank Bruno said that he and Dame Barbara “go back many years”, and had “many great memories and laughs” with her.

And Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson paid tribute to “national treasure” Dame Barbara, sending his best wishes to her and husband Scott.

Press Association

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