Barbara Windsor's 'dying wish' was a 'Bab's tax' to help dementia sufferers, reveals onscreen son Ross Kemp
DAME Barbara Windsor's final wish was that a tax could be made in her name to help people living with dementia.
She made the declaration just weeks before her death in a FaceTime call with her onscreen son, Ross Kemp.
Dame Barbara wanted it to be called 'Bab's tax' and for the money to go to treating dementia in a better way than exists now.
“Barbara made it very clear she wanted dementia treated as a medical problem and not a social care issue," Ross told The Sunday Mirror.
“And I know that’s very expensive. So bring in a Barbara Tax – another pound or so on your tax bill to prevent people having to sell their homes to look after their loved ones.
“Or perhaps that money could help to find a cure for dementia, or at least slow down the onset.”
Ross revealed Dame Barbara's husband Scott Mitchell, 57, was also in favour of the tax.
Dame Barbara was most well known for playing Peggy Mitchell on EastEnders and Ross player her son, Grant Mitchell.
The 83-year-old actress who "peacefully" passed away on Thursday night [10 December] following her battle with Alzheimer's disease.
Ross spoke of how he felt "floored" at her passing and that she was very brave right until the end.
“Right until the end Barbara was very brave and very vocal about coming forward about Alzheimer’s and dementia," he said.
“Right from when she was first diagnosed I remember having conversations with her and Scott about whether her being so vocal was the right thing to do. But for her it clearly was.
“That sums her up in many ways. That she was prepared to use her celebrity status to bring attention to Britain’s biggest killer.”
Ross also revealed that Barbara was so open about her illness so that she could help hundreds of thousands of Brits affected by it.
“There are many thousands of families in the UK going through the same thing as Scott at the moment,” Ross explained.
“Dementia is a long drawn out process. It’s not just what it does to sufferers. I have been talking to Scott today. He’s hit the floor. He’s spent seven nights as Barbara’s side not knowing what night she was going to go. I have been in contact with him constantly by text.
“I last saw Barbara on Facetime about three weeks ago. I don’t think any of the people who have been popping their faces up saying they knew Barbara well have actually seen her in years. I saw her in her last days. And Scott has said I can put this out there to the Sunday Mirror with his blessing. My understanding is the Government was meant to spend more money on dementia – he wants to make sure that happens.
“This is the legacy Barbara wants to be remembered for.”
Getting very emotional, Ross said her death was a shock and he saw her as a real mum, not just his TV mum.
“Barbara’s death has hit us all hard,” he said.
“And I have seen people die in battlefields. To me, she was invincible. It’s been a real shock.”
Ross added: “I remember walking her on to the EastEnders set on her first day. She looked at it, and then me – and said ‘I’m going to be sick’. Then she went outside and threw up. That’s how important that role was to her.
“She had a nation of 25 million people tuning it to see Babs, the icon. That was extreme pressure.”
The much-loved star – affectionately known as "Babs" – found fame playing a buxom blonde in the bawdy comedies and later became a TV favourite as Peggy Mitchell in the hit BBC soap.
Dame Barbara was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease in 2014 and made the news public in 2018.
The 4ft 10in star died "peacefully" at 8.35pm on Thursday night at a London care home with her husband Scott Mitchell by her side.
In a moving tribute, he called her his "precious Bar" and said: "I've lost my wife, my best friend and soul mate."
He said the cherished actress's final weeks were "typical of how she lived her life" and "full of humour, drama and a fighting spirit until the end".
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