Dame Barbara Windsor’s dementia ‘heartbreaking’, says husband

Embargoed to 0001 Monday October 08 Undated handout photo issued by the AlzheimerÕs Society of Dame Barbara Windsor (l
Embargoed to 0001 Monday October 08 Undated handout photo issued by the AlzheimerÕs Society of Dame Barbara Windsor (left) and husband Scott Mitchell. Ms Windsor has appeared on video for the first time to speak publicly about dementia - as her husband said that "there is still so much of her there" despite her illness.

Watching a loved one with dementia “being stripped of who they were” is the “most heartbreaking thing to watch”, Dame Barbara Windsor’s husband has said.

Scott Mitchell, 56, who has been married to Dame Barbara for 25 years, has previously spoken about how upsetting it is when his wife does not recognise him or their home.

He is part of the Barbara’s Revolutionaries team that hopes to raise £100,000 for the Dementia Revolution campaign by running the Virgin Money London Marathon on April 28.

Dame Barbara Windsor unwell
Scott Mitchell has been married to the former EastEnders and Carry On star for 25 years (Ian West/PA)

He told the Chris Evans Breakfast Show on Virgin Radio on Monday: “It’s a really cruel, horrible condition.

“For anyone who has seen a loved one go through it, it’s a horrible thing to witness.

“You see that person slowly disappearing before your eyes, being stripped of who they were.

“Anyone who has been through it would tell you it’s the most heartbreaking thing to watch.”

Mr Mitchell’s group includes EastEnders stars Adam Woodyatt, Jake Wood, Emma Barton, Natalie Cassidy, Kelly Shirley, Tanya Franks, Jamie Borthwick and Jane Slaughter.

Four of his team have had friends or family suffer the disease, he told Evans, who is now is his eighth week at the radio station after leaving BBC Radio 2.

Barbara Windsor dementia video
Dame Barbara Windsor appeared on video last year to speak publicly about dementia for the first time (Alzheimer’s Society/PA)

On Sunday, Mr Mitchell ran The Vitality Big Half in London in preparation for the full marathon.

He said the day was made “much more poignant” by his returning home to find his wife struggling with the illness.

Mr Mitchell said: “Yesterday, the irony was I had the most fantastic day and saw you guys, and all the crowds and everything else – and the adrenaline.

“I got home and Barbara was having a really tough day. It really brought it home for me.”

Dame Barbara, 81, was told she had dementia in 2014 but kept the diagnosis secret until May last year.

Mr Mitchell previously revealed the actress sometimes forgets they are married.

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