Dame Barbara Windsor, Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE), died on Thursday at a London care home from Alzheimer’s/dementia aged 83.
Born Barbara Ann Deeks on 6 August 1937 in Shoreditch and trained at the Aida Foster Theatre school in Golders Green, making her stage debut at the age of 13.
She appeared in her first film in 1954 as one of the schoolgirls in The Belles of St Trinians.
In 1964 Barbara was cast in Carry on Spying and although she only appeared in a third of the films ‘Babs’ Windsor became synonymous with the Carry On films which have long been part of British popular culture.
“Get out of my pub!”
Her career then waned until she was cast as Peggy Mitchell, the outspoken Cockney landlady of the Queen Vic in BBC soap Eastenders.
Barbara was made a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 2016 for her extensive acting and charity work, including her work with the Royal British Legion.
She became an ardent supporter of the veterans homeless charity the Queen Victoria Seamen’s Rest (QVSR) in East India Dock Road and her fundraising efforts led to a wing of the building being named in her honour after major refurbishment funded by the Legion.
‘In an area that’s close to my heart, the East End, I’m delighted to support QVSR,’said Dame Barbara at the time. ‘They are offering a home to those who’ve served our country and find themselves in hard times. The new bedrooms that the Legion has helped to pay for look fantastic, which is just what our veterans deserve.’
Editor’s note: The East End Enquirer is produced in one of the refurbished bedrooms Dame Barbara helped to fund.
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