14 NOVEMBER 2007

When soap star Sally Whittaker spotted smiling Indian youngster Reena Rawat looking smart in her school uniform she couldn't help feeling a tug on her heartstrings.

The Coronation Street actress' reaction was unsurprising given it was her donations which made it possible for the 14-year-old to receive an education at all.

This week Sally and her daughter travelled thousands of miles to Reena's village in southern Rajasthan where they were treated to an enthusiastic welcome, receiving garlands of flowers and a traditional dot of red powder known as a bindi on their foreheads. "It's so nice to meet you after all these years - you look so nice in your uniform," said the actress, giving the teenager a warm hug.

Sally's ₤15 monthly contribution goes towards books and equipment, and has also helped the charity ActionAid improve basic facilities in the area.

Back in Britain, another Weatherfield resident has also been busy. Bev Callard, the Rovers Return landlady, threw open the doors to a piano lounge in her new Cheshire pub, The Gallery.

A host of guests including Simon Gregson, who plays Bev's on-screen son Steve, helped toast the success of the venture with a drop of bubbly.

Photo: ©
After eight years the Coronation Street actress and her daughter Phoebe finally got to know Reena, the youngster the actress sponsors in India Photo: © Action AidClick on photos for gallery
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Sally was thrilled to meet the teenager, who is receiving an education because of her donationsPhoto: © Action Aid
Photo: ©
Her fellow Corrie star Bev was launching a new venture, opening a piano lounge in her Cheshire barPhoto: © PA
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