FORMER Downton Abbey star Amy Nuttall has become the patron of an acting academy in her home town.

Bolton-born Amy, known for her role as maid Ethel Parks in the long-running drama, has become the patron of Stirling Academy in Halliwell.

The academy has trained and managed a number of actors who have gone on to star in shows like Doctor Who, Emmerdale and Hollyoaks.

Amy said: "I’m so unbelievably thrilled to become a patron of this wonderful academy, especially after having seen first hand the talent they produce.

"With enough passion and focus, I believe anyone can achieve anything. Thank you for inviting me to be a small part of this exciting and nurturing academy.

"I look forward to supporting you all and watching as all your stars rise!"

Amy dropped by the academy in Halliwell Road to meet students and staff, and gave some tips about getting into the acting industry and enjoyed a showcase from the younger students.

Glen Mortimer, the academy's artistic director, said: "Amy came along and we put a little bit of a show on for her and she gave a talk on the industry and what it's like and how she started.

"She was saying it only really happens for people who are dedicated and that you should be relaxed in auditions and learn your lines beforehand.

"It's good for us to have somebody like Amy, who is local, to be kind of a figurehead and we can keep her in touch with what's going on.

"When we put a showcase on she said she will come along and support us."

The academy offers classes for adults at its Halliwell base and for children classes are available in Halliwell, Worsley and Wigan.