Former EastEnders star Ross Kemp admits it still hasn’t sunk in that Barbara has gone.
The pair were close pals for decades after bonding on the set of EastEnders.
He told the Daily Star Sunday: “It’s surreal. I still expect her to come round the corner.
We knew each other for 30 years. “She was a major part of my life for 10 of those years – I saw her virtually every day or spoke to her on the phone.”
Ross, 57, saw Barbara a number of times in the months before her death which meant seeing up close just how debilitating her Alzheimer’s was.
The star is campaigning for the Government to support people living with the disease.
He said: “Because Alzheimer’s and dementia are so expensive, no Government wants to tackle it.
“Maybe it is time this Government did. It is a social care issue and it should be seen as one. We have to provide a tax or another revenue to pay for it.
“People who get it have paid taxes all their lives. If they get other things wrong with them, they are entitled to be looked after by the NHS.”
Ross added: “Unless the Government recognises that it’s a social care issue, then it is going to continue to break families.
“It’s not just the tragedy of someone leaving you even though their body may be right in front of you, it’s also the financial cost.”
Ross also recently revealed how he pays tribute to Barbara in his home, saying: “I have a picture of her in my office, she gave that picture to me virtually when I first met her.
“It’s of her in her twenties, it has a special message.
‘She’s timeless, we are very flippant, transient and in a disposable kind of time, sadly, as you can see by all he plastic that washes up in the ocean, but she is pretty timeless.
“I hope that people will carry on remembering what a great person she was.
“She truly was one of those icons, she was a national treasure.”
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