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Daily Mirror
Daily Mirror
Tom Bryant & Julia Kuttner

EastEnders stars help form 'Babs Army' at London Marathon to honour Barbara Windsor

Jake Wood will have an extra spring in his step in the London Marathon because he’s running in honour of EastEnders legend Barbara Windsor.

The actor, who played Max Branning on the BBC soap until 2021, is part of “Babs’ Army”, raising money for Alzheimer’s Research UK.

Barbara’s widower Scott Mitchell is also running along with Albert Square stars past and present including Lacey Turner, Natalie Cassidy, Adam Woodyatt, Heather Peace and Tanya Franks, and pals John McIntyre and G-A-Y nightclub boss Jeremy Joseph.

And Jake said they will all be spurred on by their love for Babs who died in 2020, aged 83. He said: “We all knew Barbara and loved her. She was an amazing person. It’s an honour to be doing this in her memory.”

Jake told how Babs, who played Peggy Mitchell for 22 years, was very much the Queen of BBC soap.

He said: “She ruled the roost on set but was just so gracious and welcoming with it.

“She really put her arm around me and gave me advice and guidance. She was someone that you always knew was there.”

Natalie Cassidy and Heather Peace in training (ISO IMAGES)

Babs was also an inspiration to other actors.

“She was professional to a fault,” Jake said. “You wanted to be at her level.”

Jake is now starring alongside ex-Girls Aloud singer Cheryl in 2:22 A Ghost Story, in London’s West End.

And he plans to be on stage for Sunday night’s final show.

He said: “Originally I was taking the day off... obviously, because the marathon is a big thing. But the rest of the cast were a bit upset I wasn’t doing the show with them on the last night.

“I’ll do the marathon in the morning and then I’ve got a show at six. That’s the plan anyway.”

To donate, search Babs Army and Alzheimer’s Research UK.

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