Actress Leah Bracknell is battling stage four lung cancer.

Royal Today - Leah Bracknell

The former Emmerdale star’s plight is detailed on a fundraising page set up by her partner Jez Hughes which hopes to raise £50,000 for treatment in Germany. In the past 24-hours, since the page was publicised on social media, the fund has reached almost £29,000.

A statement from Bracknell, 52, about her diagnosis on the page reads:

“Just over 5 weeks ago. I was feeling perfectly well, fit and healthy. Teaching yoga classes and workshops, it was a time of new beginnings : preparing to move house, youngest child fleeing the nest, and excited to be starting rehearsals for a comedy play, being back onstage, going on tour.


“But, it turns out that the universe had other plans. Life was about to be unexpectedly turned on its head. I began to feel breathless climbing stairs. Really breathless. I just put it down to a bit of stress. My abdomen suddenly ballooned- and within a matter of a few days I looked heavily pregnant. I could barely walk or breathe. Then, one Saturday night at the beginning of September I ended up in A & E.


“Following a difficult and terrifying night (my heartbeat rose to 180 beats a minute!) I was subsequently given an emergency procedure to remove a large amount of fluid from around my heart, by a very handsome cardiologist from Slovakia. (Jez really can’t see it!) I was told later, without that, I would have died. So I am beyond grateful. Without it, I would not be here, enjoying the Autumn sunshine, watching the leaves change colour, settling into our new home. I would not know either quite what brilliant, generous and loving friends and family I have.


“However, the bad news is that I have been diagnosed with lung cancer, stage 4. In their opinion, that means it’s terminal, not curable, not operable . A fairly brutal and bleak diagnosis but one I am determined to challenge and see from the perspective of “a glass half full”, going against a lifetime of pessimism, negativity and fear!!!!


“My priority is getting well and strong, so that I can continue to endeavour to be a good, mother, daughter, wife, or at least the best I can be.


“With all my heart and armfuls of blessings. I thank you for reading this.”


Emmerdale - The Tate Family

The Tate Family in Emmerdale, 1989

Bracknell is best known for her role as Zoe Tate however departed the ITV Yorkshire production in 2005 with the character leaving for New Zealand, originally show bosses and the actress noted she was only taking nine months off to concentrate on her Yoga training, something she’s made a career out of since leaving the Leeds based show.

She had first appeared in Emmerdale back in 1989 with the arrival of the upper-class Tate family; who were introduced to lure in more affluent viewers to the show. Her family co-stars included current Coronation Street actress Claire King as step-mum Kim, former Crossroads actor Norman Bowler as father Frank and Running Wild actor Peter Amory as brother Chris.

Zoe, the local vet, wooed Archie for a time before realising things weren’t right. Eventually she came out as a lesbian and had a number of romances. The character also battled mental illness notably being diagnosed with schizophrenia, fought her way out of being raped and during a spell of being far from herself became pregnant to village ‘lothario’ Scott Windsor.

Other roles include Jenny Carrington in ITV Yorkshire’s modern-day spin-off from 1960s medical saga The Royal in The Royal Today.

Emmerdale - Leah Bracknell

Zoe leaves Home Farm for the final time in 2005, with an explosive exit for the new owners

Emmerdale - Zoe Tate Montage

Anyone wishing to support Leah can find the fundraising page here.
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