Coronation Street stalwart Bill Roache has told how a car crash stopped him from saying a final goodbye to his dying daughter.
The 86-year-old – who has played Ken Barlow in the ITV soap since 1960 – said he received a text message while on set in March saying that Vanya was seriously ill.
Vanya, 50, was one of four children fathered by the actor, who was given an MBE in the New Year’s Honours in 2001.
He told the Sunday Mirror that he drove the nearly 300-mile journey from Manchester to Chichester, West Sussex, via London where he picked up actor son Will.
The pair were 15 minutes away from the hospital where Vanya was stricken with a liver condition when a sat-nav took them down a country road covered in snow, he said.
“The car just went straight on, smashed a sign, went over a traffic island and hit a hedgerow, smashing the whole front of the car,” he said.
“Recovery said they couldn’t get out for five hours. By the time I got to her it was too late.”
Roache added the pain of losing a child was “unbearable” – and that he had experienced tragedy before when one of his daughters, Edwina, died when she was a toddler in 1984.
He added that it was “awful” not to be able to say goodbye to Vanya, but that he took comfort knowing she was at peace.