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By Debbie le Quesne

Brave stars go public on memory challenge

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Those of an age will recall classic TV comedy series Fawlty Towers and Basil Fawlty’s bossy on-screen wife, Sibyl, played by Prunella Scales.

I have vivid memories of John Cleese as Basil shouting: “Sibyl . . .Sibyl.”

As a sudden reminder we are getting older, I see this week that Prunella’s husband, Timothy West, has gone public in declaring his wife has “a sort of mild Alzheimers.”

Although it appears 81-year-old Prunella is still holding it together and “it won’t keep her off the stage” I find the news sad.

But I also believe going public is incredibly brave. The Alzheimers Society has thanked them for raising awareness.

In The Telegraph West is reported as saying that the woman he loved “doesn’t really exist anymore.”

Scales, who has entertained generations with her work on stage and screen, added the condition could be a “nuisance sometimes”, but that she was determined to make the most of life “while we still can”.

The couple have put together documentary about the canals of Britain, navigating the waterways on a narrowboat. The broadcast date is still to be decided.

In a heart-rending interview, West is reported as saying: “Pru has this condition. It’s sort of Alzheimer’s but it isn’t; it’s quite mild.

“She can’t remember things very well, but you don’t have to remember things on the canal.

“You can just keep your mind absolutely vacant, enjoy things as they happen and as you see them, so it’s perfect for her.”

Prunella, obviously still with a sense of humour, adds that “it doesn’t stop me being able to open a lock gate or make the skipper a cup of tea.”

I applaud their bravery in being so transparent about the journey they are on and wish them happy times together

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Written by debbielq

March 7, 2014 at 9:33 am

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