Ross Kemp has called for a “Barbara Tax” to fund dementia care, after sharing a final conversation with screen mum Dame Barbara Windsor.
The EastEnders and Carry On films star passed away on Thursday after a battle with Alzheimer’s disease, and Kemp has spoken about a FaceTime call they shared just three weeks ago.
He told The Sunday Mirror: “Barbara made it very clear she wanted dementia treated as a medical problem and not a social care issue.
“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.”
Watch: Alzheimer’s Society reacts to death of Dame Barbara Windsor
Adding that the money could be spent to help find a cure for dementia, he said: “This is the legacy Barbara wants to be remembered for.”
Presenter and actor Kemp said that Windsor’s husband Scott Mitchell was also a supporter of the idea.
Kemp starred in EastEnders as Grant Mitchell, where Windsor played his mum, Peggy, and the pair became close friends.
He said that being a part of the soap had meant so much to her that she had been sick on her first day there when she saw the set.
Dame Barbara Windsor, the woman who always had time for everybody, has sadly left us. I will miss Bar always. My thoughts are with her husband Scott, who could have done no more and who stayed strong for her to the very end pic.twitter.com/vIIJlA9KUW
— Ross Kemp (@RossKemp) December 11, 2020
Talking about his friendship with Windsor’s husband, he said that they had been in touch “constantly” over text as he waited for news about the star’s final days.
Kemp said that he had questioned whether speaking so openly about her Alzheimer’s diagnosis was the right thing to do when she’d first decided to, but said that he was proud of his friend for using her celebrity status to draw attention to the disease.
Read more: Barbara Windsor - A life in pictures
Windsor spent more than 20 years in her role as Peggy on EastEnders, also playing mum to Steve McFadden’s Phil Mitchell and Daniella Westbrook’s Sam Mitchell.
She was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2014, but didn’t reveal the news publicly until 2018.
Watch: Stars pay tribute to Dame Barbara Windsor