Barbara Windsor: EastEnders star's husband sheds light on actress' battle with Alzheimer

The husband of Dame Barbara Windsor, 81, praised Portlethen students for raising awareness of diseases such as dementia.

Scott Mitchell, who last May revealed the EastEnders legend was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2014, opened up about the star’s battle with the condition.

In a touching letter addressed to pupils competing in the Youth Philanthropy Initiative competition, the 55-year-old said he was “impressed” with the youngster, who highlighted the work of the Living Well Project.

The independent charity offers a befriending service and dementia-friendly cafes across Aberdeen and Aberdeenshire.

Of the charity, Scott said: “As a carer myself to Barbara, who has Alzheimer’s, I understand the importance of people living with this illness and their carers to have somewhere to go and feel a part of something, without the pressure of knowing they are in normal social surroundings.

“It can be so confusing and frightening for the person who has the condition to suddenly be out in everyday life and get a moment of not knowing where they are or what to do.

“The cafes sound like they take all that pressure away for the time they are there and of course even if the person forgets they have been there, it is most likely they will be having a fantastic time in the moment.”

Possibly speaking from experience, he added: “It can feel very lonely for carers also.

“They will have to adjust their own lives to take care of the family member or loved one and they too need support and help.”

Praising the students he continued: “What you are doing is so important and I hope your fellow pupils take the time to look at your presentations and maybe be more aware of what it is like to experience a family member or friend one day who might get Dementia.

“Barbara said I should tell you all to feel very proud of yourselves and she thanks you for spreading the message and awareness of the difficulties of living with dementia and Alzheimer’s for everyone affected by it.”

He said his wife thought the work of the young men was “incredible” and commended them for touching on the subject of dementia and Alzheimer’s.

Last year, Scott said the Carry On star had been taking medicine to help manage the degenerative brain disease.

Revealing why he decided to go public with her condition, he told The Sun: “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.”

He went on to say: “I want the public to know because they are naturally very drawn to Barb­ara and she loves talking to them.

“So rather than me living in fear she might get confused or upset, they’ll know that if her behaviour seems strange, it’s due to Alzhei­mer’s and accept it for what it is.”

Scott, who has been married to the actress for 18 years, also said he wanted to help other families dealing with the disease by coming forward.

More than 520,000 people in the UK suffer from Alzheimer’s disease and this figure is set to rise, according to the Alzheimer’s society.

Alzheimer’s disease affects the brain and is named after Alois Alzheimer, the doctor who first described it.

Common symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease include: Lose of items, forgetting recent conversations or events and getting lost in a familiar place or on a familiar journey.