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  1. ITV Report

Dame Barbara Windsor speaks publicly for the first time since revealing dementia diagnosis

  • Video report by ITV News Correspondent Richard Pallot

Dame Barbara Windsor has spoken publicly about dementia for the first time since revealing her diagnosis, as her husband says there is "still so much of her there" despite her illness.

The former EastEnders star, 81, called on people who are set to run next years' London Marathon to raise money to support research into the condition in a video filmed at her home.

Wearing a blue campaign t-shirt in support of Alzheimer's charity Dementia Revolution, she said: "I'm asking you to make a stand against dementia."

"Use your place to run for the Dementia Revolution for Alzheimer's Society and Alzheimer's Research UK," she added.

"Support groundbreaking research to find a cure for a condition that affects so many people, like me."

Dame Barbara Windsor has been supported by husband Scott since her diagnosis. Credit: PA

Her husband, Scott Mitchell, 55, announced he will be running the 2019 Virgin Money London Marathon for his wife.

"The last few years have been really hard for both Barbara and me as we got used to the profound effect dementia has had on our lives," he said.

"I have seen many changes in Barbara since her diagnosis and at times its effects can be stronger than others.

"We kept her diagnosis quiet for so long and we were really nervous about going public with the news - but when we did, there was such an incredible reaction of love and support.

"Sometimes Barbara still thinks no-one knows about her condition and makes a big thing of keeping it a secret when we see people we know or meet people out and about."

He added he has had "many conversations" with the former Carry On star in recent months to explain it was no longer under wraps.

"Despite all the changes in Barbara, there is still so much of her there. Her humour, wit and care for others for example. It is her humour I love the most - we have always laughed a lot."

Scott Mitchell will run the marathon for his wife in 2019. Credit: PA

Mr Mitchell said he doesn't know how fast he could run the London Marathon, but that for him it is more about completing it, "no matter what the time, to show my support for Barbara and all the other people living with dementia across the country."

He urged anyone taking part in the marathon who "still isn't sure who to run for" to "join the Dementia Revolution team with me to show all our loved ones with dementia, like Barbara, that they are not alone and we stand with them".

The Dementia Revolution is a joint campaign between the Alzheimer's Society and Alzheimer's Research UK to change attitudes towards the disease and "raise millions of pounds for the most ambitious dementia research initiative the UK has ever seen".

Alzheimer's Society chief executive Jeremy Hughes said: "There are currently no effective treatments to slow, prevent or cure dementia, but scientists are working tirelessly to beat it.

"By joining the Dementia Revolution, we can and will end dementia with research."

Adding to this, Alzheimer's Research UK chief executive Hilary Evans said: "We're urgently calling on people who have secured a place in the 2019 Virgin Money London Marathon to stand with us, join the Dementia Revolution and help change the lives of people with dementia."

Mr Mitchell revealed earlier this year that his wife had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease in 2014.

Alzheimer’s Society research suggests that 850,000 people in the UK have a form of dementia, and that by 2021, 1 million people will be living with the condition.