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Thursday 5th December 2019

Ex-EastEnders star Kellie Shirley says Barbara Windsor 'no longer remembers pal's name'

The actress said she and Barbara still enjoy "funny moments"

Dame Barbara Windsor is struggling to remember the names of her friends, according to one of her EastEnders co-stars.

Kellie Shirley, who played Walford's Carly Wicks, said Babs doesn't know her name any more.

Speaking to Sunday Express' S magazine, the actress said: "A massive part of being an actor is remembering things. Your memories are such a big part of who you are. That's why I feel for Barbara."

Kellie Shirley played Carly Wicks (Credit:

Read more: Ross Kemp says he "laughed a lot" during emotional visit with Barbara Windsor

She explained that Babs is able to recall "so much about the past as clear as day" but "she won't remember my name".

Barbara, 81, was diagnosed with Alzheimer's in 2014.

But it wasn't until last October, when Barbara's condition deteriorated, that she and husband Scott Mitchell, 56, decided to tell her fans.

Babs with husband Scott Mitchell (Credit:

In an interview last year with The Sun, Scott revealed that the EastEnders legend would sometimes forget they are married, telling the paper: "She suddenly has no recollection of our history.

Your memories are such a big part of who you are. That's why I feel for Barbara.

"She'll look at her wedding ring and say, 'Are we married?' But that's the thing about this cruel disease, isn't it?"

But her pal Kellie's staying positive.

And she said that, despite the illness, there are still "funny moments" and it's "not bleak all the time".

Kellie left EastEnders in 2012 (Credit:

The actress said she meets up for a brew with Barbara and Scott whenever she's in town for an audition.

Speaking further, Kellie said Babs was a big help to her when she first started out in acting, offering her "pearls of wisdom" and reassuring the younger actress whenever she felt her scenes weren't good enough.

She added: "I've been friends with her for over a decade. She says the most perfect things to me and she's a lovely, generous lady. It's tough to see how she's living with dementia."

A number of EastEnders stars, including Adam Woodyatt and Jake Wood, are running the London Marathon next month in a bid to raise £100,000 in Barbara's honour.

Read more: Dame Barbara Windsor to host new documentary after Alzheimer's diagnosis

Jake, who plays Max Branning, said he was "proud" to be helping raise money for Dementia Revolution, a year-long campaign from Alzheimer's Society and Alzheimer's Research UK.

Barbara joined the EastEnders cast as Peggy Mitchell in 1994 and left the show in 2016.

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