Blackpool favourite Barbara Windsor diagnosed with Alzheimer's

Blackpool favourite and Carry On star, Dame Barbara Windsor has been diagnosed with Alzheimer's, her husband has revealed.

Thursday, 10th May 2018, 8:20 am
Updated Thursday, 10th May 2018, 8:31 am
Barbara Windsor has a long history with Blackpool. Left - Barbara Windsor pictured on the carousel on North Pier in 1992. Top right - Switching on the illuminations in September 2016, and in 1981 Barbara met her fans when she appeared alongside Trevor Bannister in The Mating Game at the Grand Theatre.

Scott Mitchell says his 80-year-old wife, who has made many appearances in Blackpool over the years, has kept the devastating news secret since they were first told in 2014 - but that her symptoms have grown worse in recent weeks.

In an emotional interview with the Sun, Mr Mitchell said he wanted to set the record straight amid rumours in showbusiness circles about her deteriorating health.

He said: "Since her 80th birthday last August, a definite continual confusion has set in, so it's becoming a lot more difficult for us to hide.

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Television star Barbara Windsor after she was made a Dame Commander of the order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II during an Investiture ceremony at Buckingham Palace, London

"I'm doing this because I want us to be able to go out and, if something isn't quite right, it will be OK because people will now know that she has Alzheimer's and will accept it for what it is."

The star, who appeared in Blackpool in 2016 to switch on the illuminations has made many appearances in the town throughout her career.

And she was also evacuated Blackpool at the age of six during the Second World War.

Tragically, it has been revealed that she had already received the heartbreaking diagnosis when she last appeared in Blackpool.

Barbara who was famous for her roles in nine Carry On films and for playing pub landlord Peggy Mitchell in EastEnders, was first diagnosed on April 22, 2014.

After shedding some tears, her first words were: "I'm so sorry", Mr Mitchell said.

A small circle of friends who had begun to notice her occasional confusion were told shortly after the diagnosis, he said. But he stopped the news from going public after his wife struggled to come to terms with it.

He stressed that revealing the news any earlier would have been detrimental to her health.

Mr Mitchell told the paper he first noticed symptoms of the condition in 2009, just before Dame Barbara left EastEnders for the first time, when she began finding it difficult to learn her lines.

She underwent a series of mental agility tests, a brain scan and a lumbar puncture, before the couple's worst fears were confirmed.

By 2016, her forgetfulness and confusion were getting worse, and it was agreed she would leave EastEnders for the final time, Mr Mitchell said.

She has now retired from charity work as well as acting, he added.