The bikini worn by Dame Barbara Windsor in Carry On Camping has sold for £9,500 at auction.
The swimsuit, worn by the late actress in a famous scene from the 1969 film, which showed her bikini top flying off in the middle of an exercise class, was expected to fetch between £800 and £1,200.
The proceeds from the sale of the chartreuse cotton towelling bikini will be donated by the vendor to the Alzheimer’s Society in memory of Dame Barbara.
The actress, known for her work in the Carry On films and EastEnders, died in December at the age of 83 after being diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2014.
An image from the scene in Carry On Camping was included in the order of service for her funeral, accompanied by her quote: “That picture will follow me to the end.”
The item, which sold to an American buyer after a bidding war between telephone and online buyers, was part of Kerry Taylor Auction’s Vintage, Antique Textiles & Passion for Fashion sale.
Auctioneer Taylor said: “We have had so much interest in this bikini, from devoted fans of the Carry On films to people who simply love Barbara Windsor. During her long career, she was renowned for her down-to-earth nature, great sense of humour and superb acting ability.
“She was a true professional. It seems very apt that a bikini that caused her so much embarrassment during the filming will now go to such a good cause, as Barbara herself sadly suffered from this disease.”
Dame Barbara’s husband Scott Mitchell said: “It’s a touching tribute to Barbara to think any item associated with that famous scene will raise money to help people living with Alzheimer’s. I’d say it was fitting…but it flew off….so it wasn’t!”
According to Kerry Taylor Auctions the Carry On Camping wardrobe department would have commissioned duplicate bikinis for the film, but this is the only example known to have survived after it was rescued from a bin during a costumier’s stock clearance decades ago.
Remnants of the fishing line used to pull the bikini away from Dame Barbara in the risque scene can still be seen stitched to the front of the top, the auction house said.
Kate Lee, chief executive of Alzheimer’s Society, said: “Dame Barbara Windsor inspired so many when she spoke out about her dementia diagnosis and we are so incredibly grateful to have had her and her husband Scott’s unwavering support – what they achieved for people with dementia has been truly awe-inspiring.
“This bikini is an iconic item from an iconic lady.
“People living with dementia have been worst hit by coronavirus and have never needed our help more.
“Our support services like our Dementia Connect support line have been used more than five million times since March 2020, and people tell us they have been a lifeline.
“It is fantastic that such an iconic item will continue Dame Barbara’s legacy to support people affected by dementia, and we are touched by the generosity of the vendor.”