MOST of us remember Dame Barbara Windsor as the cackling queen of post-war British comedy, who reveled in sexual innuendos that were wide-eyed and gasping – yet utterly innocent.
She acted in dozens of Carry On films and later became known to a new generation as the pub keeper in EastEnders.
She was one of those natural performers who just wanted to cheer people up.
As Mayor of London, I remember the energy and fun she brought to causes – volunteering or looking after your neighbours.
And then, in 2018, I remember being blown away by the honesty with which she began to advocate for a new agenda.
She and her devoted husband Scott revealed to the world that she had Alzheimer’s and explained the toll it had taken.
It started with her forgetting her lines, and then her memory loss slowly and cruelly made her job impossible.
Dame Barbara and Scott came to No. 10 and called on the then-new government to address one of the great injustices of our time.
She knew how random dementia can occur and she knew how much it can cost.
She knew that unlike cancer patients, for example, people with dementia could have a lifetime of savings and even lose their homes just to pay for their care.
Politicians have sidestepped this issue since the NHS was formed. I’m proud to have gotten the first government to enact a solution.
Under my plan, the amount someone will ever have to pay for care is capped at £86,000. We work with the industry to help people insure themselves to this level.
We offer means-tested support to anyone with assets under £100,000. And if you have less than 20,000 pounds, you don’t have to pay a cent.
The government’s wheels have started to turn and implement these vital reforms in time for October next year.
We cannot return to a world where the tragic thunderclap of dementia can also bring the added devastation of financial ruin. But it is not enough just to solve the problems of social welfare.
As Dame Barbara implored me that day, we must also fund research that can help accelerate treatments and cures, with the same urgency we show in the fight against cancer.
So one of the legacy of my time as Prime Minister will be doubling funding for dementia research to £160m a year by 2024.
And we will not only invest more. We will use the approach of our world-leading Vaccines Taskforce to advance this funding further and faster by driving new breakthroughs against this debilitating disease.
So I am delighted that this week Scott has agreed that we can set up the £95million Dame Barbara Windsor Dementia Mission.
Modeled on this vaccine task force, this new national effort will unite government, academia, industry, venture capital and our amazing NHS to change the scope and pace of dementia research. And we will shortly be recruiting an expert in this field to lead it.
In addition to innovative research, our success will depend on faster and cheaper clinical trials – and for this we need more than just test tubes. we need people
It’s an amazing fact that recruiting the right participants into a study sometimes takes longer than it takes to conduct the actual study.
One of the legacy of my time as Prime Minister will be doubling funding for dementia research to £160m a year by 2024.
And since dementia can affect the brain many years before people show any symptoms, treatments need to be tested in people much earlier.
Just as The Sun’s Jabs army helped us defeat Covid, we will invite anyone with a family history of dementia to campaign for a new Babs army of volunteer trial participants who will give you the chance to play a vital role in the… to play defense against this terrible disease.
When I met Scott this week, he described the heartbreaking moment he looked at the woman he loved and realized she no longer knew who he was.
“Where have we met?” she asked him one day. Such is the gruesome brutality of what this disease did to Barbara and continues to do to many of our loved ones today.
But we can join forces to change that. So let us gather around this national mission in memory of Barbara and in honor of all those we have lost to this cruel disease.
And let’s defeat dementia together.
https://www.the-sun.com/news/5994353/dementia-barbara-windsor-boris-johnson/ Let’s make tackling dementia a national mission in memory of Barbara Windsor, says Boris Johnson