Ross Kemp calls for 'Barbara Tax' to fund Barbara Windsor's dying wish for dementia care

Barbara Windsor and Ross Kemp at the BAFTA Television Awards 2009 (Photo by Dave Hogan/Getty Images)
Barbara Windsor and Ross Kemp at the BAFTA Television Awards 2009 (Photo by Dave Hogan/Getty Images)

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.

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