Emmerdale stars helped cancer-stricken Leah Bracknell raise the money for treatment


Emmerdale stars past and present had a whip round to help former cast member Leah Bracknell raise money to undergo "cutting edge" treatment for lung cancer.

Leah, 52, who played Zoe Tate in the ITV soap for 16 years until 2005, was diagnosed with the disease a few weeks ago and recently launched an appeal on the website gofundme.com to help her raise £50,000 to go to Germany for treatment.

The actress' former co-stars - and newer Emmerdale cast members who never even worked with her - dug deep and donated to ensure that Leah would reach her target, which she did within days.

John Middleton, who plays Ashley Thomas, told The Sun that everyone helped Leah reach her goal.

Leah Bracknell (William Conran/PA)

"I think every one of us has contributed to it [the online fund page]," he said.

"We reached out individually.

"The moment she launched it I thought she'll easily surpass that total in a matter of days and indeed she did."

Emmerdale cast (Ian West/PA)

John said Leah's diagnosis was "an awful, awful shock".

He said: "I've written to her. It's awful news but she's a person full of courage. She's going for treatment in Germany and hopefully that will yield excellent results."

Leah set up the campaign with her partner Jez Hughes.

He has explained that the couple want to try "cutting edge treatments" at a clinic in Germany, which "aren't yet available on the NHS outside of clinical trials and are very expensive".