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23 April 2024
Barbara Windsor

I must have been about 16 or 17 years old when I met Barbara Windsor very briefly outside a bank in Portsmouth, England.

Barbara Windsor.

I was an apprentice for British Gas at the time & was based at Highbury College in Cosham a lot of the time & had gone to meet my dad at work in his office in Hilsea.  I used to meet him there sometimes & get a lift home if my motorbike was being serviced. I had gone to meet him at the office he worked in & as he had been busy in a meeting when I arrived, I waited in the office canteen for him until he had finished work.

After a while, he met me in the canteen & we jumped in his car & drove around to a bank in Hilsea. He stopped at this bank because there was parking in a layby outside. We both got out of the car & walked a few short steps to the bank. As we approached the bank the front door opened & a lady began to come out. My dad held the door open & as she came out she said hello to my dad, calling him my name, & my dad answered by saying "Hello Barbara, this is my son Alan". She said hello to me & then said goodbye to my dad before leaving.

My dad continued into the bank, did whatever he had gone in for & then we walked back to the car to go home. I had been trying to figure out who the beautiful woman was I hadn't remembered seeing her at any of my dad's office parties before. I then suddenly remembered where I had seen her before, in The Carry On films. I suddenly realised the lady who had said hello to me at the door to the bank was Barbara Windsor. I looked at my dad & asked him if it was really Barbara Windsor & if it was how he knew her.

He replied that it was really Barbara Windsor & that he knew her from work. It turned out that my dad, a tax inspector, had been interviewing her that morning. She was in fact the reason my dad had kept me waiting in the canteen when I arrived at the Inland Revenue office where he worked. My dad would never say anything about work or who he met in the course of his work. I think this is the only time I ever knew who he may have worked with & he only told me this because she had said hello to us both at the bank & knew his name.

It is strange that years later, Barbara appeared in Eastenders as Peggy Mitchell & because of my mum's likeness to her, in appearance, & how she sounded like Barbara's character in the show, we gave my mum the nickname Peggy. I remember one of my bosses at British Gas, Chris do you remember this, had come to see a band with me one time & I had told him my mum's name was Peggy. When my mum opened the door he knew he had been set up but still said "Hello Peggy" to my mum.

Barbara Windsor was a legend but my mum was a bigger one. Chris, you were a legend at the Gas Board mate.