Soap star Wendy Richard is to tie the knot this week with her partner of 13 years, John Burns, in an intimate ceremony surrounded by close friends and family. The Middlesborough-born actress is making last minute preparations for the ceremony, which will take place at a hotel in the West End of London, just round the corner from where she was brought up.
Wendy - known and loved for her role as Pauline Fowler in EastEnders - decided to bring forward the date of her wedding after learning the cancer she has battled in the past had returned. "We were going to get married anyway, but when we got the diagnosis we decided to push ahead and get married now," she says. "All I want is a pain-free day and to be able to have a laugh."
Among the 60 guests at the low key event on Friday will be some of Wendy's former cast mates, including Barbara Windsor and showbiz friends such as Dale Winton. Also among the star attendees will be the 65-year-old star's beloved dog Lily, a two-year-old Cairn terrier.
The couple will head to their favourite holiday destination, America, for a honeymoon after Wendy finishes her first bout of treatment.