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Betty Driver: Malcolm Hebden, Beverley Callard join tributes

By
Malcolm Hebden aka 'Norris Cole'

© Rex Features / Steve Meddle

Coronation Street star Malcolm Hebden and former cast member Beverley Callard have today joined the tributes which are pouring in for their late colleague Betty Driver.

Driver, who played Rovers Return barmaid Betty Williams for 42 years, passed away peacefully at the age of 91 on Saturday. She had been in hospital for six weeks.

Hebden, better known as Weatherfield busybody Norris Cole, told Daybreak this morning: "It's a very sad day for all of us, I'm afraid. It wasn't entirely unexpected, but Betty was such a central part of the show for so many years - I'm afraid we're all feeling a bit glum today."

He continued: "Betty had been a professional and very successful since she was about 14 years old. I myself remember seeing Betty as a child, singing at the Opera House in Blackpool. She was what we call a trouper. She had a smile for everyone."

Bev (Beverley) Callard
Callard, who bowed out from her role as Liz McDonald earlier this year, also shared her memories of Driver on ITV1's This Morning.

She explained: "[Betty] was an absolute lady, she was an amazing actress and such a professional but also a really beautiful person… She remembered every member of cast's own children's names and would ask how they were and she really wanted to know. She just helped you all the time.

"She was first on stage when she was about 8 years old and she had quite a pushy stage mum, and I think for a little while she rebelled against that. But it was in her to perform and as long as she could keep on working, she was going to keep on working. She was very beautiful as well. She had an inner light."

Documentary The Betty Driver Story will air in between tonight's Coronation Street double bill at 8pm as a tribute to the star.

> Coronation Street stars pay tribute to Betty Driver
> Coronation Street's Betty Driver 1920-2011: Obituary
> Coronation Street Betty Driver tribute to air tonight
> Betty Driver had so much love to give, says Bill Roache
> Coronation Street boss promises "brilliant" Betty send-off
> Read all the latest Coronation Street news

Browse through a gallery of Betty Driver's life in pictures below: Get the Inside Soap magazine on your iPhone or iPad

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