Page last updated at 06:53 GMT, Sunday, 5 October 2008 07:53 UK

Ex-EastEnder 'dying of cancer'

Wendy Richard
Richard starred in EastEnders for almost 22 years

Former EastEnders star Wendy Richard is dying of cancer, she has revealed.

The 65-year-old, who played Pauline Fowler in the BBC One soap, said she would marry her long-term partner before starting chemotherapy.

Richard has fought off breast cancer twice but in January was diagnosed with an aggressive form of the disease which has spread to a kidney and her bones.

She told the Sunday Express that she has since planned her funeral and written her will.

Richard said she discovered the disease had returned after her usual annual check-up, which revealed cancerous cells in her left armpit.

The actress, who rose to fame playing Miss Brahms in BBC sitcom Are You Being Served?, said the drugs she was given had failed to help.

She told the newspaper: "If anything, they did more damage than good so my health has really deteriorated.

It didn't matter whether you lay down, stood up, sat down - the pain was just there all the time.
Wendy Richard
"Now I have a cancerous growth on my right kidney and the cancer has spread to my bones.

"It's more aggressive this time, unfortunately, and has spread to the top of my spine and left ribs."

She said she had spent the last five years in pain after contracting lymphoedema the second time she had breast cancer, but that it had worsened this year.

"Some nights I've just wanted to scream the place down," she said.

"It didn't matter whether you lay down, stood up, sat down - the pain was just there all the time."

Richard had battled back from breast cancer to return to Albert Square months after her diagnosis.

She quit the soap in 2006 after almost 22 years, having been one of the original and best-loved cast members.

Richard was awarded the MBE for services to television in 2000.

She will marry her partner, John Burns, before starting chemotherapy treatment on 13 October.


SEE ALSO
Richard 'quit soap over wedding'
07 Aug 06 |  Entertainment
Wendy Richard to leave EastEnders
10 Jul 06 |  Entertainment
Wendy Richard's dramatic soap life
10 Jul 06 |  Entertainment
'Our days in the shop were so much fun'
08 Mar 07 |  Entertainment
EastEnders star back at work
20 Nov 02 |  Entertainment
EastEnders star has cancer
04 Sep 02 |  Entertainment

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