Entertainment UK

Barbara Windsor praised for 'brave' Alzheimer's charity work ahead of funeral

Dame Barbara Windsor has been praised for her charity work ahead of her funeral on Friday.

The EastEnders actress died at the age of 83 in December following a decline in health amid living with dementia.

The Carry On icon was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2014 and with the support of husband Scott Mitchell went public with her condition in 2018.

Throughout her final years, Dame Barbara was open about her condition and along with Scott campaigned to raise awareness for the disease, famously visiting 10 Downing Street for a meeting with Prime Minister Boris Johnson in 2019.

The couple even raised £4million through the London Marathon in a bid to aid research into the disease.

Dame Barbara Windsor and her husband Scott Mitchell arriving to deliver an Alzheimer's Society open letter to 10 Downing Street in Westminster, London
Dame Barbara Windsor (right), pictured with husband Scott Mitchell, has been praised for her charity work ahead of her low-key funeral in London on Friday

Speaking to The Sun, Kate Lee, CEO of Alzheimer’s Society, commented: “We will be forever grateful to them for sharing their dementia experience so bravely and publicly raising awareness of what it’s like to live through this devastating disease.

“Dame Barbara was a truly extraordinary
woman and our thoughts are with her and Scott’s family and friends.”

The funeral due to take place in London later today will only see 30 people in attendance due to Covid-19 restrictions.

File photo dated 20/01/2010 of Barbara Windsor arriving for the National Television Awards 2010, at the 02 Arena, London. The funeral of the much-loved entertainer is due to take place in London
The beloved actress, known for her work in the Carry On films and EastEnders, died in December at the age of 83

One of those in attendance will be Dame Barbara’s close friend and on-screen son from EastEnders, Ross Kemp, who will deliver a eulogy at the ceremony.

Another attendee will be Dame Barbara’s friend Christopher Biggins, who will also be speaking.

Speaking to Steph’s Packed Lunch, Biggins revealed: ” Anna Karen is speaking about her early life, I’m speaking about the middle part of her life, and Ross from EastEnders is talking about that part of her life.

“It will be very, very sad. I wish there was a way that we could record it so people can watch it online.”

Ross Kemp as Grant Mitchell (left) with Barbara Windsor as Peggy Mitchell (centre) and Steve McFadden as Phil Mitchell (right)
Ross Kemp as Grant Mitchell (left) with Barbara Windsor as Peggy Mitchell (centre) and Steve McFadden as Phil Mitchell (right)

All the mourners present will be supporting Dame Barbara’s beloved husband Scott throughout this sad time.

Speaking to the Press Association after her death, Scott said: “Her passing was from Alzheimer’s/dementia and Barbara eventually died peacefully and I spent the last seven days by her side.

“Myself, her family and friends will remember Barbara with love, a smile and affection for the many years of her love, fun, friendship and brightness she brought to all our lives and the entertainment she gave to so many thousands of others during her career.”

Barbara Windsor’s husband Scott spoke warmly about his wife’s final weeks

He added: “Barbara’s final weeks were typical of how she lived her life. Full of humour, drama and a fighting spirit until the end.

“It was not the ending that Barbara or anyone else living with this very cruel disease deserve.

“I will always be immensely proud of Barbara’s courage, dignity and generosity dealing with her own illness and still trying to help others by raising awareness for as long as she could.”

What is your favourite memory of Dame Barbara Windsor? Let us know in the comments below.

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