Good news Home and Away fans, Kate Ritchie who played Sally Fletcher in the soap from 1988 to 2008 is to return to the Bay later this year.

Recognised by the Guinness Book of records for the longest continuous role in an Australian drama series, it was a huge surprise when Kate Ritchie, announced she would be leaving the soap after 20 years in 2008.

Her departure left Ray Meagher (Alf Stewart) as the only remaining original character in the soap.

However, after a five-year break, Ritchie is due to begin filming in Summer Bay again in the next few weeks.

Ritchie said of her return: "There will be a wonderful sense of familiarity stepping back into Sally's shoes for a while.

"Summer Bay is a very different place these days, and I am looking forward to working with all the fresh faces that have continued to take Home and Away from strength to strength.

"It will be a good opportunity to catch up with some old mates too! Those cast and crew I worked with for so many years are who I have missed the most."

Series producer Lucy Addario added: "We are thrilled Kate is returning to Home and Away. Sally holds such a special place in the heart of the show, and we trust fans will be as excited as we are to watch her story unfold and follow Sally's journey again."