Monday, 5 Dec 2022

Boris Johnson hosts Dame Barbara Windsor's husband Scott Mitchell

Boris Johnson welcomes Dame Barbara Windsor’s husband Scott Mitchell to No 10 as PM launches ‘national mission’ to tackle dementia in her memory by doubling funding to £160m

  • Prime Minister met with Mr Mitchell, 59, on the Garden Terrace earlier this week
  • He expressed his thanks to the couple for their campaigning on the syndrome
  • The much-loved Carry On and EastEnders actress Dame Barbara died in 2020
  • Mr Johnson also called for a ‘Bab’s army’ of volunteers to sign up for clinical trials

Boris Johnson has welcomed Scott Mitchell, widow of the late Barbara Windsor, to No 10 Downing Street as he launches a new ‘national mission’ to tackle dementia in memory of the much-loved Carry On and EastEnders actress.

The Prime Minister met with Mr Mitchell, 59, on the Garden Terrace earlier this week, expressing his thanks to the couple for what they have achieved campaigning on the syndrome.

The pair also discussed the significant suffering caused by dementia and the slow process of finding treatments and cures.

Then today, in one of his final acts as Prime Minister, Mr Johnson pledged to double funding to £160 million a year by 2024 as well as provide £95 million for research into the ‘devastating condition’.

 Boris Johnson has welcomed Scott Mitchell, widow of the late Barbara Windsor, to No 10 Downing Street as he launches a new ‘national mission’ to tackle dementia in memory of the much-loved Carry On and EastEnders actress

The Prime Minister met with Mr Mitchell, 59, on the Garden Terrace earlier this week, expressing his thanks to the couple for what they have achieved campaigning on the syndrome

The pair also discussed the significant suffering caused by dementia and the slow process of finding treatments and cures

He also issued an appeal for a ‘Bab’s army’ of volunteers, with or without a family history of dementia, to step forward to take part in clinical trials on new preventative therapies.

One million people are predicted to be living with dementia by 2025, and 1.6 million by 2040. Up to 40 per cent of dementia cases are potentially preventable but causes are still poorly understood.

Dame Barbara, who was famous for her roles in the Carry On films and as pub landlady Peggy Mitchell in EastEnders, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s – the most common cause of the degenerative brain disease – in 2016.

Alongside her husband, the star campaigned to raise research funds and awareness of the illness until her death, four years later, aged 83.

The Prime Minister said: ‘Dame Barbara Windsor was a British hero. I had the pleasure of meeting her both on the set of EastEnders and at Downing Street as we discussed dementia.

‘I am delighted that we can now honour her in such a fitting way, launching a new national dementia mission in her name.

‘Working with her husband Scott, I am doubling research funding and calling for volunteers to join Babs’ Army. We can work together to beat this disease, and honour an exceptional woman who campaigned tirelessly for change.’

Mr Mitchell, the actress’s third husband, said: ‘Barbara would be so proud that she has had this legacy which will hopefully mean that families in the future won’t have to go through the same heart-breaking experience that she and I had to endure.

Mr Johnson hosting Mr Mitchell, who is Dame Barbara’s third husband and an ambassador for Alzheimer’s Research UK

Following the meeting between the pair, in one of his final acts as Prime Minister, Mr Johnson pledged to double funding to £160 million a year by 2024 as well as provide £95 million for research into the ‘devastating condition’

‘I can’t stop thinking about her looking down with pride.’

Downing Street said the mission would be driven by a new taskforce, bringing together industry, the NHS, academics and families living with the disease.

It will build on recent advances in biological and data sciences, including genomics, artificial intelligence (AI) and the latest brain imaging technology, to test new treatments from a growing range of possible options.

Mr Mitchell is ambassador for Alzheimer’s Research UK, and the charity’s chief executive Hilary Evans said: ‘The vaccine taskforce tore up the rule book for how drug discovery, drug trials and drug licensing are done.

‘With promising Phase III clinical trial results expected for a number of potential new treatments over the coming months, now is the time for political will and clear leadership from the very top of Government to make sure any new and approved treatments reach people here in the UK as swiftly as possible.’

Volunteers can register their interest through the Join Dementia Research website.

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