Dame Barbara Windsor has vowed “to carry on”, speaking publicly for the first time since it was revealed she has Alzheimer’s disease.
The EastEnders and Carry On actress was diagnosed in April 2014, but the news has only recently come to light as her condition has deteriorated in recent weeks with symptoms such as memory loss and confusion.
Speaking to The Sun last week, Windsor’s husband Scott Mitchell explained: “I want the public to know because they are naturally very drawn to Barbara and she loves talking to them.
“So rather than me living in fear she might get confused or upset, they’ll know that if her behaviour seems strange, it’s due to Alzheimer’s and accept it for what it is.”
She added: “Thank you to everyone for the lovely messages of support that I’ve been receiving, it really means such a lot to me, it truly does. Have a great day and have no fear, as I still intend to carry on, and God bless everyone.”
Dame Barbara said goodbye to her most famous role, the indomitable EastEnders matriarch Peggy Mitchell, in 2016 when the character was killed off at the actress’s own request.
She appeared in nine Carry On films, and was also in sitcoms including Dad’s Army and One Foot in the Grave.
Last year Dame Barbara was involved in the production of Babs, a one-off BBC drama about her life written by former EastEnders writer Tony Jordan. It starred Samantha Spiro and Jaime Winstone as the actress at different points in her career.