DOWNTON Abbey star Penelope Wilton will visit York this month to support the city's Kyra Women's Project.

The Scarborough-born actress, famous as Isobel Crawley in the ITV Sunday night hit drama, is patron of the charity which was set up in York just two years ago.

As the volunteer-run organisation gets ready to mark its second anniversary Penelope is set to come to York to visit the project at its St Saviourgate home, and to host a "Q and A" reception for current and prospective supporters of the Kyra.

The actress, who also starred in the film version of Calendar Girls and 1980s sitcom Ever Decreasing Circles, became Kyra's patron earlier this year, saying: "Kyra's philosophy of supporting women to make positive change means that women can feel empowered and can be mutually supportive."

Now the charity is looking for more support from people who can become "Founding Friends of Kyra" and give financial or in-kind support to help its work continue.

In two years the charity has helped 180 women, and the trustees say its numbers will continue to grow with referrals coming from many areas including GPs, IDAS, schools, voluntary sector organisations, and the workplace.

Kyra's services range from counselling to self-esteem courses, a regular drop-in sessions, a gardening club, singing group and book club.

The Q and A session will take place at the Merchant Adventurers Hall on Tuesday, November 24 with a drinks and canapé reception from 6pm to 8pm and the evening will be hosted by the High Sheriff of North Yorkshire Charles Forbes-Adams.

The event is by invitation only for supporters and prospective supporters of Kyra. Anyone interested in attending should contact Kyra on 01904 632332 or