Wendy Richard is due to marry her long-term partner today (Friday) before beginning treatment for terminal cancer.

The ex-EastEnders star, 65, brought the date of the ceremony forward after learning the devastating news that the disease had returned.

Richard, who has beaten cancer twice previously, found the cancer had returned to her left armpit during an annual check-up in January. It has since spread to her right kidney and her bones.

Around 60 family members and close friends are thought to be attending Friday’s civil ceremony and reception.

Richard has been with her partner John Burns, who is 20 years the star’s junior, for 13 years.

The wedding is thought to be taking place in a hotel in the West End of London, near to where the actress was brought up.

Richard’s former co-stars including Barbara Windsor are expected to attend, as well as friends like Dale Winton. On-screen daughter-in-law Natalie Cassidy, who played Sonia in the BBC soap, will also be there.

The actress’s beloved dog Lily, a two-year-old Cairn terrier who is the niece of Betty, Pauline Fowler’s dog in EastEnders, will be a special guest.