Wendy Richard sent a message of encouragement to fellow cancer sufferer Jade Goody shortly before she succumbed to the disease aged 65, it has been reported.

The actress, whose television career spanned four decades, died in the Harley Street Clinic in London with her husband, John Burns, by her side.

The former EastEnder phoned the 27-year-old former Big Brother star to congratulate her on her wedding to Jack Tweed, 21, on Sunday, according to Jade’s publicist Max Clifford.

He told the Daily Mirror: “Wendy phoned and sent lots of love. She said she would have loved to have been (at the wedding) but was too sick. She told Jade she would be thinking of her.”

Terminally ill Jade has since paid tribute to the actress. She told The Sun: “I met Wendy in hospital and she was brilliant to me. She told me to keep fighting and make the most of my life. She was a lovely lady.”

Wendy endured two battles with breast cancer in the mid-1990s and then in 2002.

The cancer went into remission, but last year it was discovered that the disease had returned in an aggressive form, attacking her kidneys, bones and spine.

Last October, she disclosed in a newspaper interview that the cancer was terminal and that she was dying.

Max said: “Wendy was extremely kind. She knew exactly what Jade was going through and went out of her way to get in touch when her cancer was diagnosed.

“She said: ‘Stay strong, I’m thinking of you, we’re in the same boat’. Wendy encouraged Jade not to give up. Jade told me she was supportive and lovely.”

Jade, who has been given just weeks to live, is now making arrangements for her sons Bobby, five, and Freddie, four, to be christened before her death.

Get all the latest soap gossip delivered straight to your door. Subscribe to Soaplife magazine today

Click here to watch whatsontv.co.uk’s new weekly soaps video preview, the Soap Scoop