Farewell to 'Queen of the East End' Dame Barbara Windsor with funeral restricted by lockdown

Dame Barbara Windsor in 2018 opening council community hub

Dame Barbara Windsor in 2018 opening Tower Hamlets Council's first community hub in Hackney Road - Credit: LBTH

Showbiz A-listers have attended the funeral of EastEnders star Dame Barbara Windsor in what would have been a massive  affair but for the pandemic restrictions. 

Funeral of Dame Barbara Windsor who died December 10

The funeral of Dame Barbara Windsor was held today, January 8. - Credit: PA/Wire

Only 30 could attend the service at Golders Green Crematorium. They included actor Ross Kemp, who played Barbara's on-screen son in the BBC soap.  

Pallbearers carry Bab Windsor's coffin into crematorium

Pallbearers carry Barbara Windsor's coffin into Golders Green crematorium - Credit: PA/Wire

Barbara died on December 10 aged 83 in a care home after being diagnosed with dementia six years ago. She and husband Scott Mitchell had been working to raise public awareness of the illness after she went public with her diagnosis in 2018. 

The “Queen of the East End” was awarded a Damehood for services to charity and entertainment and an honorary doctorate from the University of East London.   

The super star born in Stepney in 1937 was the only child of costermonger John Deeks and dressmaker Rose in Shoreditch. Her stage debut was in 1952 at the age of 15 and first TV sitcom role was in 1960 as a flighty seamstress in The Rag Trade about life in an East End garment sweatshop.   

She joined Joan Littlewood’s Theatre Royal in Stratford, from where Babs got her first star role in the 1963 film Sparrows Can’t Sing about the Cockney East End.   

Husband Scott Mitchell leaving funeral service 

Husband Scott Mitchell leaving at the end of the funeral service - Credit: PA/Wire

Barbara was a close friend of The Krays and often seen at their El Morocco nightclub in Soho. She married one of their associates, East End gangster Ronnie Knight, living in Mile End, the first of three marriages.  

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 But much of her time involved community work, opening the extension in 2011 to Queen Victoria seamen’s rest in Limehouse and opening the first Tower Hamlets Council community hub in Hackney Road in 2018. 

Babs Windsor with husband Scott Mitchell in Downing Street

Babs Windsor with husband Scott Mitchell in Downing Street delivering letter about Alzheimer’s awareness campaign - Credit: PA/Wire

But life wasn’t kind in later years, having been diagnosed at 77 with Alzheimer’s. A JustGiving page set up as a tribute to her in aid of Alzheimer's Research has raised £150,000 so far.  

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