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Shane Richie tells of fears over Barbara Windsor's ‘cruel' dementia decline

The former EastEnders star said the impact of dementia on a person's memory is ‘the cruellest thing in the world'.

Shane Richie has told of his fears over Dame Barbara Windsor’s decline with Alzheimer’s disease and how she may not recognise him in the future.

Richie, who starred in EastEnders alongside Dame Barbara before she left the soap in 2016, said she still remembers him when they see each other but that it may not last.

He told The Mirror: “It has been horrible to see Babs’ decline.

Dame Barbara Windsor and Scott Mitchell
Dame Barbara Windsor and Scott Mitchell (Ian West/PA)

“You hear horror stories about someone with Alzheimer’s where they don’t recognise their own loved ones. That has to be the cruellest thing in the world.

“Babs always recognises me when she sees me but then I don’t know what it would be like the following day.”

Richie added: “Every time I have seen her, she has given me a big hug and she has these sparkling eyes and she is ‘Allo, sweetheart’. She is lovely.”

Richie, who has played Alfie Moon in the BBC One soap on and off since 2002, said he hopes his former co-star can attend his new stage show.

“Babs still does get out,” he said, adding that her husband Scott Mitchell “is going to try and bring her to Richmond or Bromley to see me in The Entertainer”.

Dame Barbara, who became a household name in Carry On films and playing pub landlady Peggy Mitchell in EastEnders, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2014.

Earlier this month, Dame Barbara, 82, and Mr Mitchell called on Prime Minister Boris Johnson to solve the dementia care crisis as they were named ambassadors of charity Alzheimer’s Society.

The couple released an open letter calling on Mr Johnson to sort out dementia care and encourage the public to sign it before it is delivered to 10 Downing Street in September.

Mr Mitchell, who married the actress in 2000, was joined by stars from EastEnders to run the London Marathon earlier this year for the Dementia Revolution, a partnership between the Alzheimer’s Society and Alzheimer’s Research UK.

The team was called Barbara’s Revolutionaries.

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