Shane Richie has urged Dame Barbara Windsor's fans to show how much they "love and adore" her.

Shane Richie

Shane Richie

The 54-year-old actor has sent a message of support to his former 'EastEnders' co-star after her husband Scott Mitchell revealed the 80-year-old actress is suffering from degenerative brain disease Alzheimer's, and joked his friend will be dismissing her symptoms as just a "little touch of forgetfulness".

He told The Sun Online: "So my gal The Duchess has got a 'little touch of forgetfulness' 'cause I promise you that's what she'll be calling it right now and why not?

"She can call it anything she bleedin' wants cause she's Barbara Windsor ....oops sorry Bar! Dame Barbara Windsor, she's our Babs.

"Now the thing with this 'forgetfulness palaver' is she might not seem herself on certain days and that's OK, but if you see her out 'n' about, you just remind her how much YOU, WE, ALL of US absolutely love and adore her.

"Cause we genuinely do...and as long as she knows that then this 'forgetfulness palaver' can as Peggy Mitchell once said to Alfie Moon 'JOG ON'."

After Scott went public with the news about his wife's condition - which has worsened in recent weeks - the couple were inundated with messages of support.

Eamonn Holmes tweeted a photo of the 'Carry On' star with himself and wife Ruth Langsford and wrote: "Love this Woman ! Ruth and I wish the #NationalTreasure that is Dame Barbara Windsor the very best after her Alzheimer's diagnosis.(sic)"

Breakfast TV presenter Lorraine Kelly posted on Twitter: "Such sad news about Barbara Windsor - a funny, kind, generous, big hearted woman. Alzheimer's is a very cruel disease. I hope she knows how much she is loved. Thoughts with her husband Scott."

And Barbara's former 'EastEnders' co-star Ross Kemp, who played her screen son Grant Mitchell praised the couple for speaking out about her diagnosis.

He said: "Very proud of Scott and Barbara for speaking openly about Barbara's diagnosis. I hope by talking openly it will make it easier for others to talk about this dreadful disease. I love both Barbara and Scott very much."