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Eastenders legend and showbiz icon Dame Barbara Windsor passed away last month aged 83 following a six year battle with Alzheimer's.
Barbara’s husband of twenty years, Scott Mitchell, confirmed that the star passed away peacefully in her sleep on 10 December and today, her closest friends and family are set to gather for the funeral in North London.
Speaking to OK! ahead of the service, which will see just 30 guests due to current Coronavirus restrictions, Barbara’s close friend, Christopher Biggins, revealed how difficult it’s been for Scott since her passing.
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Christopher, who had known the Eastenders actress for four decades, said: “It’s been really tough for Scott over the Christmas period and organising the funeral, which has been difficult as you’re only allowed 30 people, partners can’t go and it’s very traumatic.
“But we will give her a good send off and then hopefully in a year’s time, or two year’s time we will be able to give her a proper send off with thousands of people.”
Alongside Christopher, actors Anna Karen and Ross Kemp are also set to make emotional speeches at the small ceremony, which will be held in London today.
Dame Barbara Windsor’s funeral to take place today with limited mourners and eulogy from Ross Kemp
Dame Barbara Windsor’s funeral ‘set to take place this week’ and Ross Kemp will give speech
Barbara was diagnosed with Alzheimer's in 2014, but chose not to tell the public until four years later, in 2018. After she had shared her news, the star campaigned to raise awareness of the disease and met with Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
Following her death, her widow Scott is hoping to carry on Barbara’s work and has asked fans to donate to Alzheimer's Research UK. A donation page, which was set up at the request of Scott, has already raised over £100,000.
A statement on the donation page says: “On the evening of Thursday, December 10, we lost Dame Barbara Windsor – a National Treasure who entertained us through the decades and, in her final years, became a powerful voice for the 850,000 people living with dementia in the UK.
Barbara Windsor's mourning husband Scott 'overwhelmed' as fans raise £100,000 for Alzheimer's charity
“This dedicated page has been set up at the request of Barbara’s devoted husband Scott and will act as a Book of Condolence that her family, friends and many fans can contribute to.
“Scott has asked that people consider a donation to Alzheimer’s Research UK in her memory, to support the search for breakthrough treatments.
“Scott and Barbara’s brave decision to go public with her diagnosis has given others the confidence to share their stories. And support for Alzheimer’s Research UK’s vital dementia research has grown since she left us, showing just how much she meant to so many.”
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Speaking about the public’s generous donations, Scott said: “This outpouring of support has filled me with pride and been a huge comfort to me. It just shows how loved, respected and adored my Barbara was.
"That's magical. I'm determined to honour her legacy by doing everything I can to support dementia research and help Alzheimer's Research UK's search for a cure.”
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