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Jill Gascoine, Star Of 'The Gentle Touch', Reveals Alzheimer's Battle

09/06/2013 14:03 BST | Updated 12/06/2013 07:50 BST

Actress Jill Gascoine has revealed she is suffering with Alzheimer's disease.

The star of 80s cop drama 'The Gentle Touch' - where she played Britain’s first female TV police detective - made the public announcement during a Hollywood gala to raise money for the condition.

jill gascoine

Jill Gascoine played DI Maggie Forbes in 'The Gentle Touch'

Accepting an award for courage, the 76-year-old was introduced on the stage by friend and fellow actress Millicent Martin, and said of her battle with the disease: "It’s been so dreadful, this thing, that I decided I was going to stand up and say, 'Well, it’s going to happen so get on with it'. I can’t think of anything else to say.

"What do I say?" Gascoine said turning to Martin, appearing confused.

"Just say thank you," Martin replied.

The Daily Mail reports that the star has been battling problems with her memory for "three or four years", but was only officially diagnosed 18 months ago.

jill gascoine

Jill Gascoine and husband of 26 years Alfred Molina

A friend of Gascoine's added that she had started telling friends a year ago, before going public.

Gascoine was cast as in 'EastEnders' in 2009 as Glenda Mitchell, but quit the role just days after the official announcement was made, citing that she "lacked the right experience to film such a big continuing drama".

She added: "I have tremendous respect for 'EastEnders' and the cast so I didn't want to let the show or my fellow cast members down."

The role was recast and awarded to Glynis Barber.

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