Emmerdale star Sian Reese-Williams, who plays Gennie Walker on the popular soap, has announced her exit from the show.

The 32-year-old actress will depart the show in the summer with the hopes of pursuing other career opportunities.

In a statement released to Digital Spy, Sian said: "I have absolutely adored my five years playing Gennie and being part of such an iconic show.

"My decision to leave has nothing to do with Emmerdale - it's such a special place and I will always cherish it - but I feel it's the right time for me to say goodbye and find new challenges.

"It was an incredibly difficult decision to make and I will miss my friends, the show and of course Genesis. But as an actor, my main passion has always been playing many different people, and I'm really looking forward to doing that again. I am excited about what the future holds."

Reese-Williams made her first appearance in Emmerdale in April 2008, when Gennie turned up unexpectedly to meet her biological father Shadrach Dingle.