One of Hollyoaks’ longest serving characters is set to exit the soap after nearly 30 years due to the “actors reduction”.

Stephanie Waring who has played the role of Cindy Cunningham for 28 years claims she has been “axed” and has taken the last two weeks to “process and come to terms with the shock”.

Having joined Channel 4’s Hollyoaks in 1996, Stephanie revealed she was “heartbroken” to announce the news to fans of the show and that she was “the only original cast member remaining to be included in the cast cull”.

The actress also confirmed she “don’t know how or why she [Cindy] exits yet” but she “won’t be killed off”.

Stephanie Waring 'gutted' to be 'axed' from Hollyoaks after nearly 3 decades

Posting on Instagram to her 225k followers, her statement said: “I can’t believe I am writing this and I have taken the last two weeks to process and come to terms with the shock of what I am about to say.

“I am heartbroken to announce that my character of Cindy has been included in the actors reduction of Hollyoaks. As an actress obviously I understand there are no jobs for life but with my 28 years on the show I hoped that Cindy would survive the exciting revamp and continue into its new era, especially as I began playing her in 1996, making me the only original cast member remaining to be included in the cast cull, which I can only describe as gutting.”

The 46-year-old added: “I was given the chance to say I had chosen to quit the show to spare me any embarrassment of revealing that I’ve been axed, which was very kind but I don’t want to lie to the fans who have followed Cindy’s journey for nearly 3 decades as I believe they know she nor I would ever have left the show by choice, Hollyoaks is in my blood and I have loved every minute of walking in Cindy’s heels. I would like to add that I totally understand all shows evolve, so whilst I cannot hide my devastation I can only express my gratitude for my time on the show and respect the producers decision with no anger just sadness.

“I will relish every last scene I have left to play with the gift of a role that is Cindy Cunningham. I don’t know how or why she exits yet but I have been assured I’m not being killed off, which I’m thankful for as in soap land anything can happen so I’d like to think we’ll see her again but who knows.

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“On a personal note, whilst I currently can’t imagine a life away from my Hollyoaks family or being Cindy, who will always remain a part of me, I know that on my last day I’ll walk out with my head held high, even if my mascara is still running!”

It was in the late 90's when Stephanie took over the role of Cindy from the previous actress Laura Crossley.

Newsquest has contacted Hollyoaks for comment.