Coronation Street’s Jack Duckworth will be making one of his last public appearances at an animal charity’s Ilkley fundraiser, before the long-running character leaves the soap for good.

Actor Bill Tarmey, who has played Jack Duckworth for more than 30 years, will be making a personal appearance and signing copies of his autobiography at the Wharfe Valley Cats Protection Maxi Bazaar on Saturday, October 23.

One of the ITV soap’s longest-serving characters, pigeon-fancier Jack will depart the Street in November, supposedly after being diagnosed with a terminal illness.

During his visit he will pose for pictures with fans who buy his book, Jack Duckworth and Me, co-written with close friend and former Fleet Street journalist, Alan Hart, who will also be at Ilkley’s Winter Garden on the day.

The appearance will be Bill’s last public visit to the region as a Coronation Street actor. TV pundits say Jack will die next month, in the same armchair where his wife, Vera, passed away.

Mr Tarmey recently revealed he is retiring from the soap as he has himself suffered poor health.

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of Coronation Street later this year, a special stand will be set up at the Maxi Bazaar selling Corrie souvenirs, including signed photographs.

Memorabilia commemorating another star of the soap – and one who lived locally – will be on sale.

Rawdon’s own Frisky the Cat became a star through his appearance in the opening titles between 1990 and 2000, crawling along Jack Duckworth’s pigeon loft.

Frisky was one of six kittens found abandoned on the banks of the River Aire and taken into the care of the Wharfe Valley Cats Protection before given a home by a family in Rawdon. During his lifetime as a celebrity cat, Frisky raised thousands of pounds for the cat charity by making ‘purrsonal’ appearances nationwide before he died aged 14.

The Wharfedale branch of the charity is calling on people to support the fundraising event, to help it care for and rehome many animals during what it regards as a crisis time for abandoned animals.

Cats Protection local co-ordinator, Graham Hoult, said: “It is hoped the appearance of such a celebrity as Bill Tarmey and sales of the Coronation Street souvenirs will raise much-needed money for our cat charity, so we can continue our work, following the closure or downsizing of other cat rescue centres in Leeds and Bradford.”

As well as being an accomplished actor and singer, Mr Tarmey is also known as an animal lover. His own pet cat, Ziggy, was found as an abandoned kitten in a skip in Liverpool. Bill’s niece then discovered her at a rescue centre in Ashton. Knowing Bill and his wife, Ali, were cat people, she asked them if they could give Ziggy a home.

Mr Tarmey will be signing copies of his book from noon to 1pm, and from 1.45pm to 2.45pm.

Fans unable attend, but who would like a signed copy of the book for themselves, family member or friend as a Christmas present, can contact SilverDell Books on 01772 683444 or and arrangements will be made to forward pre-paid copies by post.