Entertainment & Arts

Leah Bracknell: Ex-Emmerdale star 'blessed' after fans raise £50,000

Leah Bracknell, who played Zoe Tate on Emmerdale Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Leah Bracknell said she was looking forward to the future

Former Emmerdale actress Leah Bracknell says she feels "extremely blessed" and has thanked fans for raising £50,000 following her lung cancer diagnosis.

The donations, made on a fundraising website, will enable her to travel to Germany for "cutting edge" treatment.

Bracknell, who played Zoe Tate in the ITV soap from 1989 to 2005, was diagnosed five weeks ago.

She said in a statement: "I really did not expect or feel deserving of such interest and kindness."

More than 2,500 contributions have been made to the site in five days, leading to the £50,000 target being met. The appeal currently stands at £55,000.

'Strong and positive'

The actress, whose real name is Alison and who is known to her family as Ali, said: " I want to thank everyone from the bottom of my heart for all the donations, the messages of encouragement, and for sharing the campaign.

"I feel extremely blessed. We did not expect to raise anywhere near that amount, and certainly not in such a short space of time."

The 52-year-old said the campaign would continue, with decisions made at a later stage on how the money would be spent, depending on how she responds to the treatment.

"We pledge that any surplus donations will be given to other campaigns/charities to help those facing the same struggle," said Bracknell. "Right now, I feel strong, positive and (am) looking forward to the future."

The mother-of-two has been working as a yoga instructor in recent years and had been about to start rehearsing for a new play, a comedy, when she was diagnosed with stage four cancer.

Her partner Jez Hughes has said the couple want to try treatments at a clinic in Germany, which "aren't yet available on the NHS outside of clinical trials and are very expensive".

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