Page last updated at 15:40 GMT, Sunday, 8 February 2009

Street actor Roache's wife dies

Bill Roache
Bill and Sara Roache had been married for 30 years

The wife of Coronation Street star Bill Roache has died unexpectedly at their Cheshire home, show officials said.

Sara Roache, 58, married to the Manchester show's Ken Barlow for more than 30 years, had not been ill and died on Saturday.

Mr Roache, 76, who has two grown up children with Mrs Roache, said his family were "all in a state of shock".

Bev Callard, who plays Liz McDonald, led the tributes to Mrs Roache praising her charity work for disabled children.

"She was just gorgeous, a beautiful human being," said the actress.

'Devoted couple'

"I have known her for many years and met her before I joined Corrie.

"We met many times at charity functions which she gave so much of her time to.

"She was heavily involved in a talent contest each year where money was raised to send disabled children on the holiday of a lifetime.

"A few years ago she played a judge in the show at Tracy Barlow's trial."

Show bosses told Mr Roache - who joined the Corrie cast nearly 50 years ago making him the longest serving soap actor - to take off as much time as he needed.

A spokesman said: "William and Sara were a devoted couple and our thoughts are with William and his family at this very sad time."

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