Page last updated at 16:17 GMT, Friday, 10 October 2008 17:17 UK

'Dying' Richard marries partner


Wendy Richard and John Burns outside their wedding venue

Ex-EastEnders star Wendy Richard has married her partner, John Burns, ahead of receiving treatment for cancer.

Former colleagues including Todd Carty, who played Richard's son Mark Fowler in the BBC One soap, were at the ceremony at a hotel in London's Mayfair.

They were joined by her on-screen daughter-in-law Natalie Cassidy, who played Sonia Jackson, and Laila Morse, best known as Mo Harris.

Richard recently revealed that she had an aggressive, terminal form of cancer.

'Pain-free day'

Carty told reporters: "It was a wonderful day, a wonderful day for Wendy and John."

The actress's dog Lily - which is related to the Cairn terrier who was her on-screen dog Betty in EastEnders - was a special guest at the ceremony and reception at The Chesterfield Hotel, attended by about 60 family members and friends.

They were treated to champagne and canapes at the wedding, photographs from which will be featured exclusively in OK! magazine.

Other guests included Perry Fenwick, who plays Billy Mitchell in the soap; his on-screen wife, Emma Barton; and Dad's Army creator David Croft.

The married couple, together with Lily, were greeted by an army of press photographers as they left the hotel and got into a limousine with blacked-out windows.

Richard, who wore a smart grey cardigan, has been with her new husband for 13 years.

The actress is 20 years older than her husband and had said that bringing forward the wedding meant there was little time to order a cake, flowers or outfits.

"We were going to get married anyway, but when we got the diagnosis we decided to push ahead and get married now. There was no rush before."

The star, who was in EastEnders for more than 21 years, said recently that she wanted to enjoy a pain-free day and have a laugh.

The couple's honeymoon in the US has been postponed until Richard completes her course of chemotherapy, which is due to start on Monday.

The actress, who also appeared in sitcom Are You Being Served?, has been divorced on three previous occasions.

Richard has fought off breast cancer twice, but in January was told the disease had spread to her right kidney and bones.

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