Barbara Windsor has gone downhill rapidly in recent weeks due to Alzheimer’s

A close friend of Dame Barbara Windsor has revealed that her health has deteriorated rapidly in the last couple of weeks.

The actress, famous for playing Peggy Mitchell in EastEnders and for starring in the Carry On movies, was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease four years ago.

It’s got so bad that her husband of 25 years, Scott Mitchell, says she doesn’t even remember that they’re married.

And now a friend says the heartbreaking diagnosis is taking its toll on Barbara even further, giving her more bad days than good ones.

Paul Bennett, a close friend of the couple, told the Daily Mail : "I spoke to Scott last week and he said she had gone downhill rapidly over the past couple of weeks. I talked to Barbara as well and she just said, ‘I’m not so well now’."

He also spoke of how Barbara was deeply affected by the death of her close friend Dale Winton, who she’d known for a long time.

"I think she took it quite badly," he said. "Since the diagnosis, there have been up days and down days, but I think there are more down days now than up days.

"But she still goes out. Two weeks ago she went to see the Tina Turner musical."

Husband Scott also spoke of his decision to make Barbara’s illness public knowledge.

He said: "I want the public to know this, because they are naturally very drawn to Barbara and she loves talking to them.

"So rather than me living in fear she might get confused or upset, they’ll know that if her behaviour seems strange, it’s due to Alzheimer’s and accept it for what it is."

The 55-year-old said Barbara has no recollection of their history as a couple.

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

He added: "She’s not frightened of me, so I’m thankful for that. Over the last couple of days, the conversation has turned to, ‘I just think it’s wonderful that you come here to look after me’ — and she keeps thanking me."

Scott, who has been married to Barbara since 2000, added to The Sun: "I say, ‘Barbara I’m not here to look after you, I’m here because I love you’."

He said he shows her photographs of them together over the years to remind her of their past together.

"She said to me the other day, ‘It’s not fair, because you’re a young man and you shouldn’t have to look after me. You should have a girlfriend and enjoy your life’.

Scott replied to his wife: "That’s not how it works, Bar."

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