Bellingham tells of cancer battle

This Is Lancashire: Katherine Jenkins and her partner Andrew Levitas arrive at Buckingham Palace Katherine Jenkins and her partner Andrew Levitas arrive at Buckingham Palace

Lynda Bellingham has received an OBE from the Prince of Wales and declared she was still living life to the full and "giving it some welly" despite battling cancer.

The actress, best known for her long-running role in the Oxo TV adverts, was diagnosed with the disease last year and has made public her fight against the life-threatening illness.

Looking relaxed after the Buckingham Palace investiture ceremony she appeared full of energy and said: "It's been well documented I'm dealing with cancer and having chemotherapy so unfortunately my acting career is on hold - in the sense that I need to pay attention to the chemotherapy really, but hopefully eventually one will get back into it."

The actress, who has not disclosed what type of cancer she has, added: "I'm having treatment it's all going swimmingly, but it obviously becomes part of your life and you have to deal with it, so that's what I'm doing.

"I've got lots to be doing, lots of charity work. I only mention the cancer because you have to get into a routine with that and work your life around that - once you've factored it in then you work around it.

"I'm still at it all, getting out there and giving it some welly."

The 65-year-old Loose Women panellist career has spanned 40 years, and highlights include TV series All Creatures Great And Small, competing in Strictly Come Dancing and starring in the touring stage production of Calendar Girls.

Lynda also starred as the mother in a squabbling family in the long-running Oxo TV adverts, first screened in the 1980s.

She admitted she had mixed feelings about her role as the Oxo mother: "Some days I think it ruined my career and other days I think 'what does it matter really, it was a job'. It bought me things I couldn't have and I did lots of things as an actress I couldn't have afforded to do if I didn't have the money from the adverts."

Her acting roles included the sitcom Second Thoughts, which began on BBC Radio 4 in 1988 before transferring to ITV. The mother-of-two also presents ITV show Country House Sunday, in which she explores stately homes around the UK.

Lynda, whose sister Barbara died from lung cancer, has been a high-profile supporter of Cancer Research UK and Macmillan Cancer Support.

The actress, who was adopted, published a best-selling memoir, Lost And Found, which dealt with her search for her birth mother. Her debut novel, Tell Me Tomorrow, hit bookshelves last year and she is working on a second book Royal Box, based in a theatre.

Katherine Jenkins was also honoured at the ceremony and dedicated her OBE to all the UK's forces serving around the world.

The Neath-born mezzo-soprano described being recognised for her music and charity work as a "special thing".

Katherine has had a string of popular hits since making her recording debut in 2004 and twice won the best album prize at the Classical Brits.

The classical singer is also a trustee of the British Forces Foundation and towards the end of last year travelled with the organisation to Afghanistan to entertain troops.

She revealed that the letter informing her of the OBE was sent to her family's home in Neath but was delivered by mistake to a neighbour, who handed it to her mother.

She said: "She was bouncing off the walls, desperate for me to open it. When I opened it I was so shocked, I really, really couldn't believe it. I was obviously incredibly proud. My mum and I had a little glass of champagne and toasted my father, who is not with us any more.

"My award was for services to music and charity, I definitely put most of that towards my work with the military and my charities like Macmillan (Cancer Support). To be recognised for the things that I've done with the military is a really special thing for me and I feel it should be shared with all of them really, all our military personnel around the world."

Speaking about her trips to entertain the troops, the singer said: "It boosts morale, it shows them that the UK public really appreciate everything they do and think the world of them. It's not a political thing, it's about showing support for the men and women - they go where they're told and they put their lives on the line, and I have massive admiration for that."

She revealed that Charles liked her striking purple hat, by milliner Philip Treacy, which complemented her colourful dress by British fashion label Preen.

The singer said: "The Prince is always a lot of fun and I've met him several times, so we always have a nice chat. He asked how long had I been doing this and I said 10 years releasing albums and five years working with the British Forces Foundation.

"He also commented on my hat - he said he loved the colour."

Katherine was joined at the palace by her new boyfriend Andrew Levitas, a film-maker and artist whose movie Lullaby is expected to be released later this year.

The pair have been together since the autumn after reportedly being introduced by mutual friends.

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