Adam Woodyatt, Natalie Cassidy and Jake Wood are among the EastEnders stars running the London Marathon in honour of Dame Barbara Windsor for a dementia campaign.
The friends and former co-stars of the actress, whose battle with Alzheimer’s disease was revealed last year, are taking part in an all-star team called Barbara’s Revolutionaries.
The team will run for the Dementia Revolution, a year-long campaign formed by dementia charities Alzheimer’s Society and Alzheimer’s Research UK, for the event’s Charity of the Year.
Dame Barbara’s husband Scott Mitchell will lead the team, which also includes EastEnders actors Emma Barton, Kellie Shirley, Tanya Franks, Jamie Borthwick and Jane Slaughter.
They have united in support of the former EastEnders star, and hope to raise £100,000 to help ground-breaking research into dementia, as well as boosting awareness around the condition.
Mr Mitchell previously announced he would be running the 2019 Virgin London Marathon for the cause, with support from Dame Barbara, 81.
The actress, who was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2014, said: “It means so much to me to see some of my closest friends coming together to support this cause.
“And I know it will mean a lot to everyone else living with dementia.”
The group of celebrity runners recently met up for their first preparatory training session ahead of the London Marathon.
Wood, who plays Max Branning in the BBC One soap, said that his friendship with “wonderful, special friend” Dame Barbara inspired him to join the team.
He added: “Dementia is caused by diseases that affect so many people, like Barbara, yet awareness of dementia is so low and research is so underfunded.
“We’ve come together as a team to change this, and make a stand against dementia.”
Speaking about Barbara’s Revolutionaries, Mr Mitchell, 55, said it was “such an amazing show of their love and friendship towards Barbara”.
“It’s one thing to be friends with someone, but when people say that they’re going to give up their spare time and much needed days off and instead dedicate them to a cause that means so much, then that really is extraordinary – to both Barbara and me it’s so incredibly special.”
He added: “It’s not until it happens on your doorstep that you realise how devastating dementia is. There is still such a lack of awareness that surrounds the condition.
“I see it often with Barbara – people get very nervous around her and they don’t know how to react or what to say. But it’s so important that we understand dementia.
“This cause desperately needs as much attention and awareness as possible.
“I hope that by running the marathon for the Dementia Revolution, Barbara’s Revolutionaries will help us achieve this, as well as raising a lot of money to fund vital research happening at the UK Dementia Research Institute.”
Mr Mitchell, who will celebrate his 56th birthday on the day of the event on April 28, has called for people with ballot places in the London Marathon to join them, and for others to sponsor them for the “revolution” against dementia.