It’s the kind of shocking news that one would expect in an Emmerdale storyline, but for actress it was more hard-hitting than any script she’s ever read.1zoeFormer Emmerdale actress Leah Bracknell, who was the first lesbian character on a British soap and won Best Exit at the British Soap Awards when she quit the show in 2006, has revealed that she has been diagnosed with terminal lung cancer.

Leah, 51, used to play Zoe Tate on the soap for just over 16 years, and the long serving actress has told how she was rushed to hospital last month for an emergency operation before later being diagnosed with the condition.

Leah and partner Jez Hughes hope to raise money to visit the Hallwang clinic in Germany and help go towards the costs of her treatment, “to give her the best possible chances of not only survival, but to thrive.”

She writes: “Just over 5 weeks ago. I was feeling perfectly well, fit and healthy … but, it turns out that the universe had other plans. Life was about to be unexpectedly turned on its head … 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.”