Penelope Wilton visits the Kyra Women’s Project in York

PUBLISHED: 16:51 26 November 2015 | UPDATED: 16:51 26 November 2015

Penelope Wilton at Kyra - photo Kate Mallender

Penelope Wilton at Kyra - photo Kate Mallender

Copyright © 2015 Kate Mallender

Downton star supports York women’s campaign

Penelope Wilton at Kyra - photo Kate MallenderPenelope Wilton at Kyra - photo Kate Mallender

Scarborough-born star of stage and screen Penelope Wilton came back to Yorkshire to show her support for a York women’s charity.

Penelope, famous for her strong female roles in a four-decade acting career, said she was passionate about ‘giving women back their choices in life’ as she launched a fundraising campaign for the Kyra Women’s Project.

She is patron of the project which supports women through challenging circumstances such as depression, bereavement, divorce, domestic abuse or alcohol problems. The actress herself has experienced bereavement and divorce, celebrated Kyra’s second birthday at its one-stop-centre in St Saviourgate, York and highlighted the Friends of Kyra campaign for more funding to reach its £50,000 target.

‘Nobody comes to Kyra with a label – it’s a place where women can be themselves,’ said Penelope, who has starred in Calendar Girls, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and as Isobel Crawley in ITV’s Downton Abbey. ‘Many of the women Kyra helps have had their choices taken away from them and the charity gives them back that choice.

‘However, without funding none of this can happen – the project is run solely by volunteers, with no paid staff, and without their expertise and enthusiasm Kyra could not function. I’m committed to getting more people to become a Friend of Kyra, and in turn be a friend to all these vulnerable women that so desperately need our help.’

Interested in becoming a Friend of Kyra? Contact Yvonne at or Cath at

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