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Julie Goodyear: Coronation Street’s Bet Lynch slowly fading away after dementia diagnosis, says husband

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The husband of Coronation Street actress Julie Goodyear has said she is “slowly fading away” following her dementia diagnosis.

Scott Brand told The Mirror newspaper that he missed his “fun-loving wife”, and said it was “extremely painful” to watch her deterioration. Goodyear, 81, played the leopard-skin-loving barmaid Bet Lynch in the soap. Brand was speaking up in conjunction with a new Alzheimer’s Society campaign, which the couple is backing.

The campaign features a TV advert, voiced by the actor Colin Firth, entitled The Long Goodbye. It focuses on the brutal reality of the disease and how it causes people to “die again, and again, and again”.

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Brand, 55, publicly shared news of Goodyear’s diagnosis last summer.

Sharing an update on her condition, Brand said: “I miss the fun-loving wife that Julie had always been – the larger-than-life personality that brightened up everywhere she went, and the smile that lit up every room.”All of this is now slowly fading away and it’s extremely painful for me to watch this deterioration.”

Brand said his wife now struggles to recognize people, and said he missed the daily joys of being in a couple.

“Not being able to spontaneously go out as husband and wife, holding hands as we stroll along, going for meals together and going shopping – all these losses for me symbolize the long goodbye.”

Goodyear starred in Coronation Street from 1966 to 2003. Thanks to her performance, Bet Lynch became one of the ITV soap opera’s longest-serving and best-loved characters. The actress has also appeared on reality shows such as Celebrity Big Brother and Celebrity Fit Club. Her clothing and glamorous looks were trademarks, but Brand said his wife had now lost interest in her appearance.

“Julie has always been extremely glamorous, going nowhere without her make-up,” he said.

“But now the lipsticks and make-up go unworn, and clothes are no longer of interest, especially the leopard print.” Brand, who married Goodyear in 2007, said he’d had to give up work to become his wife’s full-time career. He initially tried to look after her himself, but couldn’t cope: “I soon realized I needed to ask for help.

“Caring for Julie is my priority, but my health was being affected and as a lone career I felt it was killing me. I would advise anyone going through this journey to accept help straight away.”

Alzheimer’s Society has provided a Dementia Advisor to help reduce the burden on Brand, and he said he couldn’t have managed without it: “It was a lifeline when we both needed one and continues to be so.” The charity’s TV advert shows a grieving son at his mother’s funeral, where he recalls various moments in her life where part of her died.

Kate Lee, Alzheimer’s Society’s CEO, said the campaign “seeks to tell the unvarnished truth about the devastation caused by dementia, and it is very much informed by people affected by the condition”. She said the disease’s “relentless progression” causes part of the person to die, over and over again. “But there is hope,” she added. “Alzheimer’s Society, through its support services, is there for people affected again and again, as they face the grim reality of the long goodbye.”

SOURCE: BBC NEWS