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.
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.
Pam St Clement joins us on the phone to talk about her friend Barbara Windsor's Alzheimer's diagnosis. 'I'm so pleased for her that she has her husband Scott'. pic.twitter.com/wDOR1Gx4nA— Loose Women (@loosewomen) May 10, 2018
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.”
Sending my love and deepest wishes to Barbara Windsor. She welcomed me with open arms on my first gig @bbceastenders. Iâll never forget her warmth and generosity. It meant the world to me. A class act #Legend— Daniel Mays (@DanielMays9) May 10, 2018
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.
Everyone at Alzheimer's Research UK would like to send their best wishes to national treasure Dame Barbara Windsor, her family and friends following her husband's announcement that she's living with Alzheimer's disease. https://t.co/lFtM8IvQ0F pic.twitter.com/o1mG4ow0ss— AlzheimersResearchUK 🍊 (@AlzResearchUK) May 10, 2018
“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.
Sad news this morning as itâs been confirmed that Barbara Windsor has been diagnosed with Alzheimerâs.— Lorraine (@lorraine) May 10, 2018
'I want the public to know because they are naturally very drawn to BarbÂara and she loves talking to them.â Barbara's husband Scott says. pic.twitter.com/og2YoWNTNv
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.
Sending my love & support to the fabulous Dame Barbara Windsor, one of my favourite people. Alzheimerâs 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.— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) May 10, 2018
Weâre all rooting for you, Babs! pic.twitter.com/Zsn85yn6DF
“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.”
So sorry to hear the news about Barbara Windsor this morning.Shes a lovely lady.Lots of love.— Tony Blackburn (@tonyblackburn) May 10, 2018
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.
My beautiful dear friend Dame Barbara Windsor is an amazing woman and I will love her and wonderful Scott for ever. Weâve been friends for so many years and they are strong and brave together. Sending so much love and thanks for all you do @alzheimerssoc— Gaby Roslin (@GabyRoslin) May 10, 2018
“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”.
So sorry to hear the news on Dame Barbara Windsor, a wonderful performer and such a strong, positive woman. A real survivor. My heart goes out to Scott, the family and all her friends. #Eastenders @LADYRATLINGS #CarryOn #NationalTreasure pic.twitter.com/5D4z9TkEtV— Vicki Michelle (@vickimichelle) May 10, 2018
Boxer Frank Bruno said that he and Dame Barbara “go back many years”, and had “many great memories and laughs” with her.
Such sad news about Dame Barbara Windsor - a true national treasure and a wonderful campaigner for the elderly and vulnerable. All best wishes to both her and Scott— Boris Johnson (@BorisJohnson) May 10, 2018
And Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson paid tribute to “national treasure” Dame Barbara, sending his best wishes to her and husband Scott.