ACTRESS Debra Stephenson, of Coronation Street and Bad Girls fame, has been welcomed aboard as a new patron of Lewis-Manning Hospice in Lilliput.

A supporter of the charity since moving to the area a few years ago, Debra is set to continue her hard work in an official capacity, which will begin with her hosting the charity music event Sax in the Garden at the hospice later this month.

Debra, also a star of Lighthouse pantos, said: “I feel honoured to have been asked to become a patron.

“I’m proud to support the wonderful work to help local people with life-limiting illnesses. I have been keen to be involved in fundraising events.

“It is such a beautiful and peaceful haven. The staff are wonderful and totally committed to making Lewis-Manning a very special sanctuary for patients to find the care and positive support they really need.”

After first being introduced to the hospice when she opened its Ashley Cross shop while starring in Peter Pan at Lighthouse in 2010, the TV and stage star has been involved in many events, including the Ladies Lunch, Summer Fayre, Starlight Stroll, James Bond ‘Skyfall’ charity night and she recently hosted the Stars In Your Eyes night at the Barrington Theatre in Ferndown.

Elizabeth Purcell, chief executive at Lewis-Manning Hospice, said they were “absolutely delighted” that she had become a patron.

“Debra has been such a committed supporter since she moved into the area and we have all been very grateful to her for her time and energy,” she added.

She joins the likes of Harry Redknapp, Amanda Waring and Fiona Castle among celebrities who have lent their support to the Lilliput hospice, which helps more than 650 people with cancer and other life-limiting illnesses.

Tickets for Sax in the Garden, hosted by Debra Stephenson, on July 18 are available from 01202 701000.