Barbara Windsor was a true British icon | Cheryl Gibbs

I was really saddened to hear the news last week that a true British icon, actress and all round ‘ good bird’ Barbara Windsor had passed away, following a six year long battle with Alzheimer’s.

Thursday, 17th December 2020, 3:15 pm
File photo dated 22/03/16 of Barbara Windsor after she was made a Dame Commander of the order of the British Empire by Queen Elizabeth II during an Investiture ceremony at Buckingham Palace, London. Photo credit should read: John Stillwell/PA Wire

Barbara died last Thursday with her husband Scott by her side.

But she was just 83 years old and I think it’s just so young still to die.

Having said that, I’ve personally seen what happens to those who suffer with Alzheimer’s.

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It’s a terrible disease that takes away so much from the person who has it.

I remember interviewing Barbara on the red carpet at the Lawrence Olivier Awards in London a few years ago.

There I was, with every other reporter desperate to get a soundbite from the celebrities in attendance.

I managed to get a few – Sex and the City’s Kim Cattrall (who wasn’t the friendliest celebrity I’ve interviewed, let’s just put it that way); Paul O’Grady (who was, by contrast, lovely); Jude Law and Keira Knightly were also there.

But it was ol ‘Peggy Mitchell’ who I was most excited to see.

I was so thrilled when she stopped at my microphone and gave me a quick interview.

We chatted about a few things.

While she wouldn’t give me any exclusive gossip on Eastenders (ever the professional), she did re-enact one of her most popular lines from the soap.

She looked straight down the camera lens and said ‘go on, get out of my pub’.

I was just so thrilled and humbled that she’d do it for me.

However I did ask, I have no shame. But it was great all the same.

She was in perfect character and despite her glamorous dress and beautiful hair and makeup, she went into full Peggy mode just for me.

I know from experience there aren’t many celebrities with her clout and fame who would take pity on a reporter like me and I’ll never forget it.

I’ve interviewed a fair few celebrities and when people ask me who my favourite is, I’ve always put Bab’s up there.

She was a true British icon and she leaves a fantastic legacy behind her. RIP Barbara Windsor.

All I want for Christmas is for Harley to have normality

When you hope for as long as we’ve had to have your own baby, everything is a big deal.

You want their ‘firsts’ to be normal and I think I’d be forgiven for saying that there hasn’t been anything normal about Harley’s first year.

For me, this Christmas is a big deal because I just want her to have a normal Christmas and I know it can’t be, but I was so chuffed that we at least got to do the Keydales tradition.

I can’t imagine there’s many of you reading this who don’t know about the Keydales Christmas Woodland Walk. We took Harley and while she had zero clue what any of it was about, it was just so nice for us, as parents to do something ‘normal’ with her.

I’m so glad baby groups have continued despite pandemic​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

I can’t tell you what it has meant that some of the baby groups Harley and I joined have been able to go ahead, despite Covid.

I will argue until I’m blue in the face all the reasons why it’s so important that baby classes continue to go ahead during the pandemic.

You wouldn’t believe what little sponges babies are at this age and also how badly affected some of them, including Harley, were during the first lockdown.

The fact that once or twice a week we get to take them somewhere where there’s actually other people, in a different environment with music and lights and actual other babies, is so important.

It’s been a real life-saver for us and I love going to them with my little family.