Alzheimer’s Research UK Ambassador Scott Mitchell details life with Dame Barbara Windsor in new book
In December 2020, while the world was gripped with news of an imminent third lockdown, Alzheimer’s Research UK Ambassador Scott Mitchell was visiting the care home where his partner and wife of 27 years – Dame Barbara Windsor – was being looked after.
At the age of 83, after a career spanning seven decades and a seven-year battle with the debilitating effects of dementia, she was slipping away.
Barbara’s illness meant she could no longer remember her magical career, and so Scott sat by her bedside in her final days, telling her tales from their extraordinary life together. From the unlikely moment they met to the challenges they faced, and the highs and lows of a life shared in the limelight.
For theirs was an incredibly passionate relationship, but also a turbulent one – and along with a life of love and laughter, together they endured the pressures of fame, heartbreak and ultimately, dementia.
He told Barbara stories of the wonderful achievements on and off screen, and the people who altered the trajectory of her life. From nine enormously successful and much-loved Carry On films to more than twenty years in Albert Square with the role of Peggy Mitchell in EastEnders.
Barbara’s passing on 10 December 2020 was a moment that left Scott – and a nation – in mourning. Since her death, Scott has worked tirelessly to raise awareness of dementia and funds for research in her memory. But even before her passing, Scott was determined to help others going through the same heartbreak, running the 2019 London Marathon with a team of Barbara’s friends. Together, they raised over £150,000 for our Dementia Revolution campaign. Scott ran the famous course through the capital again in 2021 for Alzheimer’s Research UK and has supported various campaigns and initiatives to raise funds and awareness for the charity.
Weaving together an old-fashioned love story, a glittering life of showbiz and the true cost of dementia, By Your Side is a treasure trove for everyone who grew up watching and loving Dame Barbara. From the madness and the mayhem, the glorious highs and the devastating lows, to the fantastic fun she and Scott had along the way – this is an intimate, honest and incredibly personal account of a life well lived.
By Your Side: My Life Loving Barbara Windsor, published by Seven Dials, is available to buy here.