Coronation Street legend Liz Dawn has revealed for years she struggled with a lung condition thinking it was just asthma.

The 69-year-old actress – who played Vera Duckworth in the soap for 34 years before she retired in 2008 – has been diagnosed with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease.

Liz has now been asked by the British Lung Foundation to be the face of a new campaign to alert people to the symptoms of COPD.

She said: “I was really pleased that the British Lung Foundation asked me to be an ambassador because I’ve had bad breathing for the last 10 years, but like other people I thought I had asthma, so I only had this little inhaler that wasn’t doing me any good.”

“Bad breathing is the worst thing anybody could ever have. So many people don’t realise they’ve got COPD, most people say emphysema – they’ve never heard of COPD.”

The actress wishes she’d been diagnosed sooner and urged people to seek help.

She said: “When you’ve got COPD, it affects everything in your life. I’ve been in hospital twice with pneumonia – I only have to get a cold and it’s like, worry time.

“I just wish that I could’ve got this medication I’m on before because it’s made so much difference. If you’ve been a smoker for years you’re likely to get bad lungs.”