Later this year, EastEnders' much treasured leading lady Pam St Clement will hang up those uniquely crafted earrings for the final time when she waves a fond farewell to iconic matriarch Pat Evans.

Pam has certainly not been shy of a few dramatic storylines during her time on Albert Square. From her EastEnders debut in 1986, it was quite clear this firey female wouldn't take any prisoners. Her first duty as Pat 'Wicks' was to inform Pete Beale he wasn't the father of her son Simon.

Pat went on to marry the love of her life Frank in a big East End wedding bash and became Pat 'Butcher' in 1989 but later moved on to become Pat 'Evans' when she wed the ever dependable Roy in 1996.

It was always clear that Frank was the love of her life. Even when he married Peggy in 1999, Pat couldn't resist his masculine charms which resulted in the infamous double-slap scene behind the bar at The Queen Vic.

In between the marriages, spats with Peggy Mitchell and out living numerous husbands, Pat has also survived a heart attack, done time in prison for a drunken hit and run, become land lady of The Vic and lived to tell the tale of a vicious encounter with the Walford attacker in 1987.

Pam has said that she has "Leaving the EastEnders 'family' will be a kin to a bereavement but I'm looking forward to the other work and life opportunities that I will have the time to pursue".

Bryan Kirkwood, EastEnders Executive Producer adds: "In Pat Harris-Beale-Wicks-Butcher-Evans, Pam St Clement has created one of the most iconic and loved characters in British TV history...Although it's too early to talk about how Pat will leave the Square, we can assure viewers it will culminate in a fitting storyline, not to be missed"

What Pam's co-stars had to say about her departure...

Barbara Windsor

"Pam St Clement created a truly iconic character in Pat. I was privileged enough to be a part of her journey, as Peggy and Pat fought, laughed and cried together. Pam will be greatly missed by the company and the viewers. I personally adore Pam and I can't wait to start having all those lunches we promised each other."

Steve McFadden

"I always loved the on-screen relationship between Pam St Clement and Mike Reid especially when they worked behind the bar in the Queen Vic. This was one of the golden eras for me and I learnt a lot from both of them. Pam is full of integrity and I have always admired her. She is never one to shy away from speaking her mind about the programme as she has so much love for the show. EastEnders will be a strange place without Pam, she is a lovely woman and I will truly miss her at EastEnders as I am sure all the viewers will."

Patsy Palmer

"Pam St Clement is the most professional person I have ever worked with. She is an amazing actress who never fails to make me cry when we do scenes together. She will be missed by everyone at EastEnders but I feel really priveledged that I have had this wonderful lady playing my nan for many years."

Charlie Brooks

"I'm devastated, Pam is one of my favourite people to work with and is also a close friend, I will miss her dearly".

Sid Owen:

"I'm very sad to see Pam go, we've had a really close working relationship over the years. She's such an icon and I will miss her a great deal".

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