Dame Barbara Windsor ‘overwhelmed by generosity of British public’ as husband’s Virgin Money London Marathon team hits £100,000 target for dementia research

Dame Barbara Windsor has thanked the public from the bottom of her heart as a team of her friends and family hit their £100,000 fundraising target today, two days ahead of the Virgin Money London Marathon.

The moment follows an outpouring of public support for ‘Barbara's Revolutionaries’ as they’ve been speaking out about dementia and the need for research funding in the lead-up to the event.

After Dame Barbara and her husband Scott Mitchell revealed her diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease last year, Scott agreed to take on the challenge of the London Marathon to raise funds for the Dementia Revolution. The Dementia Revolution is a one-year partnership by Alzheimer’s Society and Alzheimer's Research UK as Charity of the Year for the 2019 Virgin Money London Marathon. 

Alongside eight of Barbara’s former cast-mates and EastEnders stars (Adam Woodyatt, Jake Wood, Emma Barton, Natalie Cassidy, Kellie Shirley, Tanya Franks, Jamie Borthwick and Jane Slaughter), self-confessed ‘non-runner’ Scott has been training since October and set an ambitious target to raise £100,000 to power groundbreaking research at the UK Dementia Research Institute. 

The group is now hoping they will far exceed their target and help the wider campaign to hit £3.5m raised for dementia research. They will join almost 2,000 runners on the start-line on Sunday running to raise money for the Dementia Revolution.

Dame Barbara Windsor, said:

'I am truly overwhelmed by the generosity of the British public in helping Barbara’s Revolutionaries raise a staggering £100,000 towards the Dementia Revolution so far.' 

'I am so touched that Scott and the rest of the wonderful team of ‘Barbara’s Revolutionaries’ have taken on this marathon challenge for me and the 850,000 people living with dementia. I’m heartened by every single donation that has been made – however big or small. Your messages of support and encouragement mean so much to me. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart.'

Dementia is the biggest health threat facing society with almost a million people living with the condition in the UK. There are currently no effective treatments to slow, prevent or cure the diseases, like Alzheimer’s, that cause dementia but scientists are working tirelessly to beat the condition. 

The UK Dementia Research Institute is the UK’s largest dementia research endeavor, that will see 700 researchers in six centres across the UK carrying out world-leading research into the diseases that cause dementia.

Scott Mitchell, who will also celebrate his 56th birthday this Sunday on marathon day, said:

'Everything to do with this marathon challenge has taken my breath away – from the training, to the unrelenting public support.'

'I am absolutely over the moon that we were able reach our original target of £100,000 before race day. I’ve read every single message of support, probably several times over. I will certainly have those words of encouragement in mind as I’m running the course. The whole ‘Barbara’s Revolutionaries’ team and of course Barbara herself are so grateful for every single donation – we all thank you so much. People have given in memory of loved ones who have had dementia, for friends and family members living with the condition, and many just because they’ve been touched by the subject. Scientists tell us we are on the cusp of a breakthrough in the next 10 years but we won’t get there without investment. I hope people will continue to donate so that we can beat this condition.'

Nina Ziaullah, Campaign Manager for the Dementia Revolution, said:

'We’re been truly overwhelmed by the public support for the Dementia Revolution, and Barbara’s Revolutionaries. Barbara and Scott’s experience has touched the hearts of thousands of people across the UK and beyond, and reflect the day-to-day experiences that so many affected by dementia are facing today. 

'The Dementia Revolution is a unique opportunity for us to make a stand against dementia this Sunday at the Virgin Money London Marathon and raise vital funds for research. Research into dementia remains hugely underfunded compared to other conditions, but we have a real opportunity to change that. There are still lots of ways that people can support the Dementia Revolution this weekend, either by running for us, volunteering or donating to the campaign.'

Visit the donation page for Barbara’s Revolutionaries.