She is one of only two original characters on the show, who with actor Ray Meager (Alf Stewart) entered the Guinness Book of Records as the longest-running continuous roles in an Aussie drama.
She will finish shooting scenes for the Seven drama in December and remain on screen until April 2008. The show celebrates its 20th anniversary early next year.
Ritchie, who won the Gold Logie this year, has also recently appeared in It Takes Two and the ABC telemovie, Stepfather of the Bride.
“I have been blessed with a job that I have loved for the past 20 years and I wouldn’t take back one moment of my time on Home and Away but I feel that it is time for change,” Ritchie said.
“My decision to leave the show has not been made lightly and despite being sad to say goodbye I am excitedly looking forward to what will be the next chapter of my life.”
Seven’s director of programming Tim Worner said, “She’s a great girl and she deserves it. Seven is very proud of all that Kate has achieved in her time with us. It’s been an amazing ride and it’s been a great joy to see her grow as a performer and a person over that time”
Source: Sydney Morning Herald.