Coronation Street star Liz Dawn has spoken about her ‘devastating’ decision to quit the soap and insisted: “I’ll be Vera ’til the day I die.”

The actress is leaving her role as Vera Duckworth after more than three decades due to ill health – admitting she’s barely able to walk across the set.

A lifelong smoker, she was diagnosed with lung disease emphysema five years ago.

“I always thought I would play Vera until my dying day – but now I just want to spend the rest of my days enjoying my life with my family,” she told The Sun.

“It’s been the most difficult decision I have ever had to make, but I know Vera would do the same.

“I always wanted to be there for Corrie’s 50th anniversary in 2010. The thought that I won’t be is devastating.”

But she added: “I’ll be Vera ’til the day I die and they’ll put ‘Ta-ra Chuck’ on my tombstone.”

Liz, 68, revealed the disease had taken such a toll that she nearly collapsed while at Buckingham Palace to collect her MBE in 2000.

She said: “I was so embarrassed, I lied and said I had a sore foot. I could kick myself for smoking, but it was just so hard to stop.”

The actress quit smoking in 2002.

Her final scenes in the ITV1 soap will be screened in January – and she’s hoping producers won’t kill her off.

“I’d like to think Vera can come back once in a while,” she said.