EastEnders stars have been lining up to pay tribute to Pam St Clement following the news she is leaving the soap after 25 years playing Pat Evans.

Former star Barbara Windsow – who had plenty of onscreen run-ins with Pat during her time as Peggy Mitchell – was among the first to comment, saying she would be missed by both the cast and the viewers.

“I was privileged enough to be a part of her journey as Peggy and Pat fought, laughed and cried together,” Barbara said.

She added, “Pam will be greatly missed by the company and the viewers. I adore Pam – and I can’t wait to start having all those lunches we promised each other.”

Patsy Palmer, who plays her onscreen granddaughter Bianca, said Pam was a true professional.

“She is an amazing actress who never fails to make me cry when we do scenes together,” Patsy said.

“She will be missed by everyone at EastEnders but I feel really privileged that I have had this wonderful lady playing my nan for many years.”

And Sid Owen, who plays Ricky Butcher, added, “We’ve had a really close working relationship over the years. She’s such an icon and I will miss her a great deal.”

Pam, who joined the show in 1986, announced on Friday she would leave later this year, saying she wanted to pursue “other work”.

She said that leaving the show would be “akin to a bereavement” – but that she was looking forward to seeking other acting opportunities.