Actress Liz Dawn, who plays Vera Duckworth in 'Coronation Street', will leave the soap before Christmas due to ill health.

Dawn, who suffers from the chronic lung disease emphysema, has been playing the role for the last 34 years in more than 2,000 episodes.

According to the News of the World, she has told Granada executives she is too sick to continue.

"It's been an amazing 34 years, " she said, "I'd like to thank everyone for what has been the best time of my life."

Her character's husband Jack, played by Bill Tarmey, will continue in his role.

Producers were staying tight-lipped about her character's departure from the soap but said she would continue to make guest appearances.