Lesley Nicol Pictures

Updated - Friday 13th June 2014

Last seen - Lesley Nicol - Stars of the hit British series Downton Abbey turned out in force to support young UK charity, Medical Detection Dogs, in London last night. The charity, which trains dogs to detect cancer and alert diabetics to dangerous falls in their sugar levels, has already won the patronage of HRH Duchess of Cornwall. The Duchess became a patron in February and together with the Prince of Wales, hosted the dogs and their trainers at St James's Palace in March. Last night, cast members including Jim Carter, who plays the stoical Mr Carson, Phyllis Logan, aka Mrs Hughes, and Rob James Collier, the errant under-butler Thomas Barrow, boarded the glass-covered boat at Westminster Pier for a cruise up the Thames. Lesley Nicol, best known as the redoubtable Mrs Patmore, has been a keen supporter of the charity since first hearing of its work. Nicol commented: "Medical Detection Dogs has become a passion for me. They are relatively young, and the work they do is absolutely awe-inspiring and I want everyone to know exactly who they are and what they do. "As far as I am aware there is something like a three year waiting list for assistance dogs - and that is before what they do has really become widely known! Can you imagine what will happen when it has? "So obviously it's vital to give them the means to expand their work as soon as possible. These dogs are literally transforming and saving lives, on a daily basis. And if you are poorly, and there is this opportunity out there, three years to wait, is a very long time! "The bio detection work - the other part of what this charity does - continues to amaze and impress people when they see the dogs at work. The fact that they can train them to detect early signs of cancer, and in doing so, sometimes remove the need for invasive and unnecessary procedures, and of course save lives - is amazing and seriously deserves our support I think." Jim Carter adopted the role of auctioneer for the charity auction and succee - London, United Kingdom - Thursday 12th June 2014

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