Who is April’s mum Donna Windsor in Emmerdale and how did she die?

28 February 2020, 12:21

Donna Windsor left Emmerdale
Donna Windsor left Emmerdale. Picture: ITV

Donna Windsor is the mum of April Windsor in Emmerdale, but how did she die and who played her?

April Windsor is is in for a tough week on Emmerdale as she’s bullied for dad Marlon Dingle being a ‘murderer.’

While Marlon has been released from prison after being arrested for the murder of Graham Foster - a crime actually committed by Rhona’s ex Pierce Harris - viewers will see little April tormented by her classmates.

But as her dad struggles to cope, who is April's mum and why did she leave the soap?

Who is April's mum Donna Windsor in Emmerdale?

April Windsor is the daughter of Marlon Dingle and the late Donna Windsor.

Policewoman Donna (Verity Rushworth) made her first appearance in the show on 26 August 1993 and became one of show’s most loved characters.

Donna Windsor is April's mum in Emmerdale
Donna Windsor is April's mum in Emmerdale. Picture: ITV

Donna and Marlon broke up back in 2009 before she left the village for five years.

After making a comeback in 2014, Marlon didn’t want to be a part of his daughter’s life at first, but when Donna died he was left as a single dad to care for April.

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How did Donna Windsor die in Emmerdale and when did she leave?

Donna faced a tragic end just five months after she returned to the Dales in 2014 hiding a terminal illness.

But she made the ultimate sacrifice for her family, when she threw herself off the top of a multi-storey car park while handcuffed to dangerous villain Gary North (Fergus O'Donnell).

Boyfriend Ross Barton (Michael Parr) was left to watch on as the woman he loved die in order to save him and her daughter April.

Donna's emotional funeral was held on 28 August 2014.

Read More: Emmerdale spoilers: What happens to Vanessa Woodfield and will she die at the hands of Pierce Harris?

Who played Donna Windsor in Emmerdale and where is she now?

Donna Windsor was originally played by Sophie Jeffery until 1997. Actress Verity Rushworth then took over the role in 1998 and played her until she left in 2014.

At the time, Verity, 34, said her exit was an amazing way to end her 16-year career on the soap.

She told What’s on TV: “I was really excited about it. Obviously I was quite nervous because it was a huge stunt and I didn’t have a stuntwoman so I had to be very brave.

“When I was told the exit my instincts were excited by it and up for the challenge and now I’m really grateful because it would have been really difficult to portray Donna dying from her illness and the deterioration and things like that.

“This way it’s a completely different slant on it. Her life’s been cut short for a reason, a valid reason. I think it was more impactful and shocking and I think it’s going to make people sit up and take note of it.”

Since leaving the soap, Verity has had two children, with her youngest - Ethan Michael Shaw - born in July last year.

Verity and her husband Dominic Shaw also share daughter Amelie, who was born in 2016.

The actress has gone on to star in a number of West End shows, including Kinky Boots, Hairspray, Chicago and Annie.

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