Cockney queen Babs signs up to Mayor's London 'ambassadors' in Trafalgar Square
PUBLISHED: 18:24 08 August 2016 | UPDATED: 18:31 08 August 2016
© Greater London Authority
Barbara Windsor today joined the Mayor of London's 'ambassadors' in Trafalgar Square to promote "the greatest city on earth".
The East End-born cockney star came out to back the Mayor’s ‘open city’ summer campaign as part of his ‘Team London’ which Dame Barbara has supported since the London 2012 Olympics.
“London is truly open to visitors from all corners of the globe,” Babs said. “We’re getting people out there working for our city, giving tips and advice and making sure we remain the greatest destination in the world.”
London attracted a record 32 million tourists in 2015, a fifth more than five years ago, the Mayor’s Office points out. These included 19 million from overseas, compared to 17 million in 2014.
The 550 Team London ‘ambassadors’ in their distinctive magenta uniforms are manning ‘welcome pods’ in tourist hotspots over the summer including the Tower of London, the Southbank, Trafalgar Square, Piccadilly Circus, Parliament Square and St James’s Park.
They are volunteering their time as part of City Hall’s tourist welcoming programme in the wake of the EU Referendum, to show that London is “united and open for business” to the world.
The ‘ambassadors’ themselves come from all backgrounds and speak more than 50 languages between them, even Sign Language.
And of course there is our own cockney queen Babs Windsor, born and raised in Shoreditch and Mile End who was made a dame in the New Year’s Honours. She started her TV career in the Rag Trade sitcom in 1961 about an East End ‘sweatshop’ clothing factory and went on to star in the Carry On films before taking up the role of Queen Vic landlady in the BBC’s EastEnders soap.
Now she is helping the London Mayor push “the greatest city” to show that it’s open to all—even if most of the rest of Britain voted to quit the EU.