Proud Rita Simons gushes in tribute to 'beautiful friend' Danielle Harold

Former EastEnders star Rita Simons has posted a wonderful tribute to Danielle Harold after she picked up an award during the National Television Awards.

Danielle was nominated in the Best Serial Drama Performance category and went onto win after her final storyline as Lola Pearce.

Lola was diagnosed with a brain tumour and after being told it would lead to her death, the beloved character decided to embrace every single minute she had left with her family and friends.

Lola died at the end of May with daughter Lexi (Isabella Brown) and husband Jay (Jamie Borthwick) beside her.

Recently, Lola made a return to the BBC One soap ahead of Lexi’s first day at secondary school. She featured in a video message that she filmed prior to her death and told Lexi to be kind and always do her best.

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After Danielle picked up the award during last night’s ceremony, Rita Simons posted a sweet message on her Instagram to congraulate her.

Sharing a behind the scenes picture of them both, the Roxy Mitchell actress wrote alongside: ‘I’ll stop with these pics soon promise. But this beautiful young lady! @danielle_harold I have known since she was brand spanking new and so young…She’s grown into such a gorgeous young woman and a bloody amazing actress..very proud to call her my friend. She was so deserving of her serial drama performance award last night.

‘Could not be more proud. Mama loves you Sooo ❤️❤️❤️❤️ and yes we both took our shoes off because we are pure class…you can take the girl out of the east end…..’

Rita recently swapped EastEnders for Hollyoaks after it was announced that she’s joining the cast.

Her character promises to bring big drama, with the role confirmed to be long-term.

A source told at the time: ‘There’s a real buzz in the air about Rita joining the show – she’s a great signing!

‘Bosses have big plans for the character, who is going to be at the centre of some really big storylines and make a real impact.

‘To say she is going to stir things up will be an understatement.’

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